Few elements in PTM are anti-state, says Gen Bajwa


–Army chief says ‘we will fail all inimical forces and their conspiracies trying to undo our gains’


PESHAWAR: Chief of Army Staff General (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said that Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) itself was not an issue and the grievances highlighted by the movement are “genuine and natural” in the post-operation environment.

Few elements of the organisation are playing in foreign hands to exploit the sentiments of victims who have actually suffered at the hands of terrorism and now need care, he added.

“We shall fail all inimical forces and their conspiracies trying to undo our gains,” he vowed.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief met students of various universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in the corps auditorium of Peshawar Headquarters.

On this occasion, Gen Bajwa said that Pakistan is enriched with intelligent and skilled youth. Nation and the armed forces succeeded against the terrorism in Pakistan, he said.

He further said that the fruit of these sacrifices will be achieved through socio-economic development of the country by the most important element, education.

Gen Bajwa asserted that the priority is to establish lasting peace for socio-economic development to make enemy’s every move unsuccessful, and government and security forces are working to address genuine issues of the tribal people regardless of where they come from.

The army chief said that students will not yield to any misguided propaganda and contribute to the fruitful prospect of the nation. On this occasion, students assured full support to the armed forces.

A few days ago, army’s spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor had accused the PTM of being funded by foreign spy agencies, including India’s RAW. He warned the Pashteen-led movement that their “time is up”.

He said as per the instructions of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, all actions [against the PTM] would be in the ambit of the law. “Everything will be done lawfully. You have enjoyed all the liberty that you wanted to,” he said, addressing the PTM leadership.”

Responding to the demands that the Manzoor Pashteen-led outfit makes in its public rallies, the military spokesperson had said that he met [PTM leader and MNA] Mohsin Dawar, and they had three demands.

He had said the army created 48 teams to de-mine the area and 45 per cent of these areas were cleared. The process of demining cost the army 101 casualties. PTM says that mines and unexploded bombs still exist in tribal areas.

The second demand was the clearing away of the checkposts, he had said, adding that the army lost hundreds of soldiers at these checkposts.

“[The issue of] missing persons were their third demand [and] they created a list of those missing persons. The list has shortened to 2,500 cases today and the [missing persons] commission is working day and night to resolve those cases,” he had said.

Ghafoor had said he was the first person to engage with the PTM on the orders of the army chief, who advised him against using any harsh treatment to the movement.