Naseeb Ullah Achakzai;
Marginalization is always fatal. History is witnessed that the bomb of exploitation, fear, deprivation, socioeconomic misiries and malgovernance can explode anytime. The same happened in the former FATA and the KPK, since 1900,s. What happened next, is infront of us, where insecurity, violence, drug culture, and inhuman activities have been engulfing the whole region with a bang.
For centuries, the people of the region have been portrayed as the nobal savages. The region was run through the draconian law of the FCR. After the inception of Pakistan, the situation remained the same. The Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, and the US attack on Afghanistan, further provided fuel to the already pitiable situation. Violence, insecurity, the emergence of the TTP, the Drone attacks, the migration of the people of this war_torn area traumatized the socioeconomic, political and cultural structures of the region.
The sorry state of affairs about the human development indicators show the deprivations of the region. In total 702 Union councils, 579 councils have no sanitation facilities. 106 Union councils are without paved roads. There is no electricity in around 2200 villages. According to the UNICEF, only 1 docter is available for 7800 people, one dentist for 14800 people, while for 4200 people, there is only one healthcare centre. Moreover, for 2179 people, there is only one bed available in hospitals. As far as the situation of education is concerned, it is gloomy too, where the male literacy rate is 22 percent and the female rate is only 7 percent. Apart from this, poverty has engulfed the region where the ratio is the highest in the state with 73 percent. On the flip side, the four decades war has further helped in the marginalization of the region. In the midst of these misiries, the political gap was increasing, which was filled by the emergence of the PTM.
The leadership of this movement is educated and well aware of the use of Social Media. They know how to turn the sentiments of the people. That is how, With the passage of time, the movement, that was started for the tribal region, has now spread to the whole Pashtoon area of Pakistan. In addition to that, the PTM has been focusing on the Baloch and the Hazara Communities too so that to attract political sympathy for the movement, for which the world media has also been supporting effectively.
One common cause of both government and the PTM is the eradication of terrorism from the region, for which the common Pashtoon and the security forces have given immense sacrifices of their lives. The fulfillment of this common cause demands sanity from both government and the PTM leadership. For which the only viable option is the dialogue. The sedition charges aganist the PTM leaders may not work. A ground for starting talks is a must, for which the state should behave like a mother. On the other side, the irresponsible, inflammatory, and provocative slogans on the part of the PTM, would further weaken their cause. The leaders of the movement ought to confine themselves to their demands. Notwithstanding, the socioeconomic development in the region can further help in reducing hatred, violence and insecurity. Bringing Fata into mainstream by merging into the KPK province was a positive step. What is needed is that, the proven resources in Fata, like Copper, Limestone, Coal and Marble should be mined, which could help in reducing poverty and unemployment in the region.
New regional and international alignments are coming into place. We have been facing myriad of internal and external challenges. These could be coped up with only unity and saneness. In this scenario, the burning issue of the PTM needs to be tackled by commencement of a productive political dialogue.