Youth-led, social media-powered movement in Pakistan gains ground – despite media blackout

Woman at a PTM rally clutch photos of missing loved ones. Photo: courtesy Taqra Qabaili Khwenday (brave tribal sisters) via Amna Durrani

When Scroll asked me to write something on the Pashtun movement sweeping through Pakistan, I thought it would be an easy assignment because I’ve been following the issue. But writing this piece was much more difficult and took a lot longer than I expected. Here’s my piece contextualising the issue trying to explain to a non-initiated audience what this is all about, published in Scroll on May 6, 2018 under the head: FIGHTING CENSORSHIP. 

In Pakistan, a youth-led, social media-powered movement is gaining ground – despite a media blackout

The revolution will not be televised in Pakistan. Unless it has the blessings of the powers-that-be. This has been proved time and again in the past, under a system ruled directly by the military for more than half the country’s 71-year history. The current censorship may be the worst-ever. Continue reading

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Censored: Babar Sattar’s article on the Pashtun peace movement; solidarity with academic Ammar Ali Jan and Geo TV

“PTM could very well stand for Pakistan Tahafuz Movement, for peace is indivisible”

Manzoor Pashteen, leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, addressing a protest gathering in Peshawar on April 8. Photo: Abdul Majeed/AFP

Lawyer Babar Sattar writes an excellent weekly column in The News. This week column didn’t run because, as he tweeted, the media is banned from mentioning PTM, and Geo and the Jang Group (that publishes The News) shut down/ordered not to touch “sensitive” topics.

In the interest of freedom of express and in solidarity with the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement and those fighting for peace and democracy in Pakistan, read Babar Sattar’s article reproduced in full below (trigger warning: graphic description of child rape). Please also raise a voice in support ofthe young academic Ammar Ali Jan who has been fired from Punjab University for encouraging students to think for themselves. “Certain quarters” also warned him to stay away from Manzoor Pashteen and the PTM, otherwise he will face “dire consequences”. But this is not, as he says, a time to be silent. See his post below also. Continue reading

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