Manzoor Pashteen

The killing of Ibrahim Arman Loni, 35, a senior leader of Pakistan’s groundbreaking Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), last Saturday in an “encounter” with police in Balochistan province has sparked widespread condemnation and protests among the country’s Pashtun population and members of other allied communities.

Loni was also a Pashto-language poet and an instructor at a local college. He was killed on the same day that the PTM marked the first anniversary of its formation.

Loni was the father of three children and the older brother of a woman who has also risen to prominence because of her fearless participation in this new political uprising that, according to a BBC Urdu report, has gained tremendous popularity even among urban Pashtuns.

Manzoor Pashteen, 24, who is, in another correspondent’s words, rattling Pakistan’s army, has not only galvanized young supporters among his Pashtun tribesmen but has also emerged as a fighter for the rights of other communities as well. His voice resonates with the grievances of those whose rights have been violated for decades with impunity. People could not protest because challenging the army’s power and practices could easily lead to forced disappearance, torture or even death.

Loni is the PTM’s first “martyr,” but he was indeed not first Pashtun to be killed in such a manner. Pashtuns and their neighboring communities in Afghanistan and the regions bordering Pakistan have been facing violence, internal displacement, hunger and various forms of exploitation for decades.

Pashtun wedding parties, mosque congregations and even funerals have been bombed repeatedly throughout these years of conflict. One might ask, then, if violence had already become the new normal for the Pashtuns, why are they reacting so furiously over the killing of “only” one activist?

There is a compelling reason for this. Pashteen, the PTM leader, has completely changed the perception among his fellow young Pashtuns on how they should view their lives and bodies. For years, Pashtuns, mostly those living in tribal areas, thought it was reasonable for the state and its security forces to arrest, torture and kill them. A generation of Pashtuns were so badly intimidated and terrified that they even stopped complaining about suffering in government custody or the use of police brutality, just because nobody was listening to them. They could not imagine that someday someone just like them would stand up and say it aloud in public that it is not OK, under any circumstances, for law-enforcement officials to torture or beat fellow citizens or burn their homes.

While Pashteen’s efforts required extraordinary courage and involved severe risks to his life, he decided to go ahead. Today, his rebellion represents a segment of the Pakistani population (not only Pashtuns) who are fed up with the uncontrolled cycle of violence, body searches, humiliation, displacement, and allegations of being “terrorists.” When he spoke up, people across Pakistan, especially those whose family members had been subjected to enforced disappearance by government agencies, viewed Pashteen as their savior.

And his activism has actually paid off. The government has indeed been compelled to release several “missing persons” who had previously vanished for months or years. These outcomes have fueled Pashteen’s optimism that it is possible to fight for justice and gradually achieve it as well.

While Pashteen must be credited for giving his followers the much-needed realization that they own their bodies and lives, and nobody, not even those in the highest ranks of public office, has the right to torture them or take them away from their families, his other significant contribution was to instill a sense of fearlessness among this supporters.

Today, the Pakistani military seems more bothered by this important civil-rights movement that is spreading across Pakistan and abroad than the traditional mainstream national political parties that only mildly criticize the army. PTM is organizing protests against Loni’s killing in more than 60 cities across Pakistan and in many parts of the world, including New York and Washington, DC. It is impossible for the Pakistani government to ignore this growing public anger.

For any young political and social activist in Pakistan, there is one lesson that he or she learns: Whenever the military establishment feels threatened by somebody’s actions and demands, it will immediately label them as a foreign agent. If they still cannot break the activist, they will accuse them of being a tool in the hands of “foreign forces” who is “paid” to “defame Pakistan.” If you still remain undeterred, they will call you an enemy of Islam and an agent of non-Muslims.

This is absurd. No country should discredit valid questions and objections raised by its citizens by accusing them of having a foreign agenda. In fact, it is the responsibility of every democratic state to teach its citizens a clear understanding of civic obligations, social justice and the ability to distinguish between truth and tyranny. Questioning the abuse of official authority is not unpatriotic. This is a value every responsible citizen must own and be proud of.

Since the government has exhausted and overused these self-defeating tactics of labeling social and political activists as “enemies of the state” or “foreign agents,” it seems to be losing the ability to sell such ploys to the public, and people are insisting on staying focused on the actual discussion instead of concentrating on such distractions.

Pashteen is a unique leader in Pakistan who has preferred to stay focused on his message and mission instead of being derailed by false accusations, Internet trolling, threats and provocations.

One challenge that the PTM is still grappling with is that of acceptance of the Pakistani ruling elite (joined, ironically, by most of the national media). They are unwilling to accept their activism as something normal and democratic. No matter how much the PTM insists on being a peaceful democratic movement, the Pakistani establishment does not approve of it merely because its messages and demands conflict with the military’s interests, policies and vision at so many levels.

The fight, in the first place, is not about being democratic or peaceful or being the opposite. The actual challenge the Pakistan Army faces from the PTM is the “dangerous ideas” of freedom and equality that it is inculcating in citizens’ minds. The fact that the PTM tells its followers that armed forces or security agencies do not have an inherent right to torture or kill them seems like a departure from normal thinking. It shouldn’t be.

Pashteen reminds his followers that it constitutes a crime when security forces abuse their authority, and they should be punished for doing that just like other criminals. But that language and vocabulary, silenced by fear, have been wholly absent from everyday conversations in Pakistan for decades. Pashteen is taking fellow Pakistanis to uncharted waters. This involves an exceptional level of discomfort, uncertainty and, above all, risk. It marks a momentous time in Pakistan’s political history as the PTM is redefining and reinvigorating politics and civil-rights activism in a country with a dysfunctional democracy.

The PTM has already passed the initial hard phases of the struggle, making it difficult for the Pakistani establishment to ignore its demands. While Loni’s killing is tragic, all movements need a leader – and some martyrs – to keep going forward. The PTM cannot expect to be an exception.


Asia Times has relaunched on Download our brand new native App for a sweeping selection of geopolitical and business news from across Asia.

Malik Siraj Akbar

Malik Siraj Akbar is a Washington-based journalist and political analyst. He has a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's John F Kennedy School of Government. 

Join the Conversation


  1. I wanted to check up and let you know how, a great deal I cherished discovering your blog today. I might consider it an honor to work at my office and be able to utilize the tips provided on your blog and also be a part of visitors’ reviews like this. Should a position associated with guest writer become on offer at your end, make sure you let me know.

  2. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

  3. I used to be suggested this website through my cousin. I am now not positive whether or not this submit is written through him as nobody else recognize such detailed approximately my problem. You are incredible! Thanks!

  4. My brother suggested I might like this websiteHe was once totally rightThis post truly made my dayYou can not imagine simply how a lot time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  5. A) Disponer de la documentación que identifique al prestador, que en el caso de persona jurídica, deberá estar constituida legalmente e incluir en su objeto social las actividades de montaje y reparación de instalaciones térmicas en edificios y/ de mantenimiento y reparación de instalaciones térmicas en edificios. A) AE 1 (bajo nivel de contaminación): aire que procede de los locales en los que las emisiones más importantes de contaminantes proceden de los materiales de construcción y decoración, además de las personas.

  6. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Very useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  7. Una carta a Zapatero a ver si le compra una flota de Seats para sus asesores será más fructuoso que sugerir en una página de Citroen C que compren un Exeo. Y hay un aspecto importante que no he leido en otros comentarios: el trato personal que dispensan en los talleres de la red Citroën no tiene parangón: cuando hay revisiones me llevan y me traen a buscar el coche, las revisiones las hacen en el dia, etc. No puedo estar más satisfecho de los concesionarios, al menos de los que he visitado.

  8. Para la instalación de un área de césped adicional se sigue exactamente el mismo proceso que en la instalación de la primera área de césped. Una vez finalizada la instalación del área de césped adicional, coloca el Indego 1300 en la base de carga nueva. Al pulsar el botón «Home» de la base de carga, se enviará una señal al Indego 1300 a través del cable perimetral ordenándole regresar a la base. Nuestra experiencia nos permite garantizarle una reparación con resultados 100.

  9. Aún con mi garantía en vigencia, lo envié al servicio técnico, y debido al desgaste de sus maravillosos plásticos, y a la rotura sobre la articulación de la pantalla, se escudan en que el equipo en algún momento tuvo mal uso (supongo que se refieren a que no hacen equipos diseñados para funcionar 8 horas al día… 😉 ). Y se desentienden de él, a menos que acepte pagar por el arreglo.

  10. Mi teléfono lleva desde el 2 de Noviembre y no se nada de él porque no puedo contactar con el servicio técnico y en HTC no me decir el teléfono está secuestrado y no puedo contactar con los secuestradores. Quiero pedir presupuesto de reparación, pero antes de mandarlo por mensajería, me gustaría saber si conocéis algún sitio en Valencia alrededores. Informarle de que este trámite puede hacerlo con la tienda directamente a través del teléfono de atención al cliente de Telefónica.

  11. Hola buenas tardes, le informo del teléfono genérico para encontrar este repuesto que depende del servicio técnico en madrid de Fagor, dado que Edesa y Fagor tienen como común el mismo fabricante. Hola, buenos días, nosotros no tenemos ese material pero sin duda lo puede encontrar en Servicio Técnico Oficial BSINTERSERVICE en Madrid en Calle Embajadores 198, TF 5284704. Ponga el modelo que tiene en el buscador y debajo la Marca, y verá que le salen los diferentes modelos que le comento. También disponemos de servicio de fontanería y pocería, con un servicio óptimo y tarifas sin competencia.

  12. La nueva línea SWISSCUT XL, con una capacidad de profundidad de ranurado de hasta 10 mm, ha sido diseñada para realizar un mecanizado más profundo que la SWISSCUT INNOVAL estándar, con el objetivo de reducir el número de herramientas necesarias a la mitad.

  13. En AVANPLA le brindamos un asesoramiento técnico impecable gracias a nuestros técnicos y profesionales del sector de la ingeniería, que le ofrecerán las mejores soluciones y le resolverán de manera eficaz las dudas que tenga ante la aplicación de cualquier tipo de producto de precisión.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.