Government, PTM moving toward 'short-term arrangement,' experts say

In this file photo, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leaders Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir call on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the premier's office in Islamabad on Nov. 7, 2018. (PID)
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Updated 11 July 2020

Government, PTM moving toward 'short-term arrangement,' experts say

  • The group’s leaders were booked in May last year for allegedly attacking a military checkpoint in North Waziristan
  • Analysts say PTM can emerge as a political force in tribal region if it shuns policy of confrontation with state institutions

ISLAMABAD: Two lawmakers from the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) are going to approach the Peshawar High Court next week to have a criminal case against them quashed, following recent moves by the government which experts say indicate attempts at a “short-term arrangement” to end confrontation with PTM.
Last month, Defense Minister Pervaiz Khattak invited PTM to discuss “all the contentious issues” for the sake of the development of Pashtun-dominated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.A few weeks earlier, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa administration requested an antiterrorism court to withdraw the case it filed against PTM leaders Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir in May last year.
“The government has the authority to withdraw the case, after which the accused will be considered exonerated in the case,” Abdul Latif Afridi, senior lawyer representing the two members of the National Assembly, told Arab News on Saturday.
Afridi confirmed that the provincial government requested the case withdrawal in March, but the antiterrorism court in Abbottabad had yet to decide on it. In the case, Dawar and Wazir were accused of an attack at a military checkpoint at Kharqamar in North Waziristan, in which at least 13 people were killed and multiple injured.
“This is like a hanging sword to my clients … I’ve discussed the development with my clients, and we’ll be moving Peshawar High Court next week to get this case quashed,” he said, adding that the court was legally bound to exonerate his clients after the government’s application.
The PTM emerged as a rights movement for the country’s Pashtun population in February 2018. Its leaders and supporters have faced numerous police reports and court cases for allegedly inciting people against the state institutions including the armed forces.
Political analysts are of the view that the recent developments indicate that the government and PTM leaders are moving toward a “short-term arrangement” to put an end to confrontation and address concerns of Pashtuns.
“The PTM is a genuine political movement led and supported by the youth, therefore it can’t be suppressed through state force or violence,” Qamar Cheema, political and security analyst, told Arab News.
He said that Pashtun nationalism had always been a problem for the state for its unique geographical location and closeness with the troubled Afghanistan
“The PTM should focus on getting genuine grievances of the Pashtuns addressed by shunning confrontation with the state,” he said, “The group could emerge as a political force in the region, provided it broadens its canvass.”


Pakistan to resume middle school classes tomorrow despite rising COVID-19 infections

Updated 22 September 2020

Pakistan to resume middle school classes tomorrow despite rising COVID-19 infections

  • Dozens of educational institutions around the country were closed this week over violation of virus standard operating proce­dures and detection of new cases
  • Earlier this month, government announced it would allow the “phased” reopening of all educational institutions from September 15

ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Tuesday said middle schools across the country would resume regular classes as scheduled from tomorrow, September 23, Radio Pakistan reported, despite coronavirus cases being detected in educational institutes around the country this past week.
Schools were closed in March when the government enforced a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. Authorities started lifting strict curbs in May and last month allowed almost all businesses and the tourism sector to reopen.
Earlier this month, the Pakistani government announced it would be allowing the “phased” reopening of all educational institutions from September 15.
All higher educational institutions including universities, intermediate and professional colleges, reopened from September 15, while grades six through eighth grade were to reopen on September 23 and primary schools would resume classes from September 30.
Following the decision of the NCOC to resume middle school classes from Wednesday, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa officially announced that classes would start tomorrow. However, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said schools in the province would reopen on September 28.
Dozens of educational institutions around the country were closed this week over violation of standard operating proce­dures (SOPs) and detection of Covid-19 cases among students, teachers and other staff.
But Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Saturday that a hasty decision to close down schools again would “destroy education.”
“6 months closure deeply affected the students. Decision to open was taken with great care,” he wrote on Twitter. ” Any hasty decision to close will destroy education.”

The education minister of Punjab province, Murad Raas, said on Twitter:
“All Public & Private Schools will be allowed classes 6 through 8 starting September 23rd. It is imperative for everyone to follow SOPs ... All of us have to play our part to make this successful InshAllah.”