Politicising SP Tahir Dawar’s murder
Pakistan’s adversaries do understand that in the presence of strong armed forces they can never defeat Pakistan in kinetic warfare so they adopt the non-kinetic approach, using their proxies and hybrid war tactics to disrupt Pakistan’s march towards growth. This time they took advantage of fault line of FATA and the Pashtun ethnicity. According to writer Merwah Hamid Qureshi, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is a practical manifestation of 5th generation hybrid warfare, which has its roots in anti-state propaganda set by anti-Pakistan forces. She stated: “PTM has become the tale of a blame game. Its leadership has directly hit the prestigious institutions of State and has explicitly tried to malign the military which helped the people of FATA to get rid of the menace of terrorism. Moreover, PTM under the agenda of just demands is accusing the State institutions for creating chaos in the FATA region.”
PTM is trying to use SP Tahir Dawar’s murder to create confusion in the area. On Saturday, the Awami National Party (ANP) also backed the demand of SP Tahir Khan Dawar’s family to probe his murder through international institutions, and called for protests against Tahir Dawar’s assassination and instructed its workers to organise demonstrations. Addressing protesters outside the Peshawar Press Club, ANP Central General Secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the PTI government had failed to protect life of the citizens. “The Federal and Provincial Governments are responsible for the murder. I ask the real ‘rulers’ who are calling the shots why they could not trace the accused involved in the murder of Haroon Bilour despite the passage of nearly four months,” he said. ANP leader Ghulam Ahmad Bilour raised the question that how Tahir Dawar was kidnapped from Islamabad and shifted to Afghanistan as the security personnel were manning check posts along the roads.
He added that the Pakhtuns should come out of their houses and record protest over the killing of Tahir Dawar. It has to be mentioned that Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, grandfather of Asfandyar Wali Khan had led the Pashtunistan Movement, and he was also founder of the National Awami Party (NAP) which was banned during Bhutto era. Recently, ANP headed by Asfandyar Wali Khan, had suspended the party membership of senior leader Afrasiab Khattak and Central Vice-President Bushra Gohar arguably for supporting PTM. Both ANP and PTM claim to be champions of the cause of Pashtuns, and it appears there is a race between ANP and PTM to politicise rather capitalise on Tahir Dawar’s murder. Mehmood Khan Achakzai of PkMAP also resorted to insinuations when he drew parallels between Tahir Dawar’s murder and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi which proves that he is compulsive detractor of armed forces.
The nexus between NDS and PTM became obvious when Pakistani delegation led by State Minister of Interior Shehryar Afridi went to the border at Torkham to receive the body of martyred SP Tahir Dawar, and Afghan officials refused to hand over the body to Pakistan, and insisted that his body would be handed over to Mohsin Dawar. It was a preplanned and stage-managed activity, and it was against all international and diplomatic norms to refuse handing over the body to Pakistan government and instead insisting on handing it over to Mohsin Dawar to make him a hero. The involvement of PTM in this episode was a ploy to give it a new lease of life in view of its rejection by the masses. Intelligence agencies believed that SP Tahir Dawar was kidnapped and murdered by hostile agencies i.e. NDS of Afghanistan and Indian RAW.
SP Tahir Dawar had served in the counterterrorism operation, and efforts were made to kill him in Bannu on two occasions, using suicide bombers. The report also suggested that MNA Mohsin Dawar was in touch with NDS when the news of the murder surfaced on the media. There is strong perception that Afghanistan’s Agency may have asked Mohsin Dawar to place the blame on Pakistan. The Army and State Minister for Interior Sheryar Afridi are of the view that forces other than terrorists might also be involved in the brutal episode. The slain Superintendent of Peshawar Police’s rural circle was kidnapped from Islamabad on October 26 and taken to Mianwali from where he was taken to Bannu and then to Afghanistan. Earlier there was confusion about the whereabouts and fate of the kidnapped SP but last week Afghan Foreign Ministry confirmed to Pakistan about the dead body in Nangarhar province.
In fact, there is incontrovertible evidence that PTM is playing in the hands of alien agencies. The Washington Post had published a treatise authored by Pamela Constable and Haq Nawaz Khan on 22nd April which was supportive of the PTM. It however admitted foreign hand behind the Movement. The authors stated: “The new Pashtun Movement has received support from Afghans, including a strong endorsement from President Ashraf Ghani, an ethnic Pashtun. But this has only made the Movement more controversial, because relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan are tense.” One can infer from the above that Afghan Intelligence Agency NDS and Indian RAW could have made inroads in the PTM, otherwise this nascent organisation did not have enough funds to organise demonstrations and rallies in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. Of course, coverage given to protest demonstrations of PTM by Indian media and US-led western media speaks volumes about their support.