Pashtun Tahafuz Movement - PTM - Pakistan News

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After a deadly clash between troops and activists at a security post in northern Pakistan, organisers of a rights movement that has unnerved the powerful army say a campaign of intimidation against them has intensified, with many top leaders detained. The military denies a crackdown against the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), which campaigns against alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of Pashtuns and other ethnic minorities, but says it is acting against lawbreakers. Manzoor Pashteen, the PTM’s charismatic figurehead, said he has seen his closest aides detained. Two lawmakers who are part of the group’s leadership have also been arrested. “In the past, they wanted to stop protests. Now they want to stop the movement,” Pashteen, who says he is the only member of the group’s core leadership not in custody, told Reuters. “They have directly arrested the leadership and begun a campaign to malign them (on social media).” The PTM’s appeal among Pakistan’s more than 35 million Pashtuns – and its unusually direct criticism of the powerful military over alleged human rights violations – has brought it into conflict with the authorities, who allege it is being bankrolled by hostile neighbouring countries. The group has been barred from parts of the country and security forces have regularly tried to stop its rallies by arresting workers. Some analysts and senior PTM members believe the latest arrests targeting leaders and aides were an attempt to isolate Pashteen within the group and provoke more hardline elements into a violent response that could…

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