Manzoor Pashteen Interviewed

Manzoor Pashteen Interviewed
Photo by Syed Aoun Abbas / Unsplash

I  read an interview with Manzoor Pashteen today in Foreign Policy. There are many parts in the interview that stood out to me, but I want to remember the two below, so I'm adding them to my living in the jackpot notebook.


Foreign Policy: How do you assess the current situation in Pakistan?

Manzoor Pashteen: Lawlessness is increasing day by day due to the involvement of the military in all the institutions of state. The Army controls the parliament, judiciary, media. They disappear and kill brave journalists who call for human rights. [The Committee to Protect Journalists says 63 journalists have been killed in Pakistan since 1992.] They have their selected parliamentarians who do the military’s bidding. We do not have a formal martial law, but we have hyper-martial law: The Army controls everything. [...] Here in the Afghan-Pashtun belt, there is nothing, only barbarism. The barbarian Pakistan Army and Taliban killed us, destroyed us. We have nothing to look forward to but the cries of the wives and mothers who have lost their loved ones in war or as missing persons.

The people are not educated, so they do not know about the courts, the laws, the institutions, the constitution. We have no institutions in our area. We have no modern education. Yet we have modern weapons, billions of dollars’ worth of weapons that came to fight the “war on terror.” But it was a war on Pashtuns. It is a game for them but a black era for us.

FP: What do you see as the main issues facing Pakistan today?

MP: The main issue is the powerful military. Across the world, countries have militaries. But here, the military has a country. In the world, states have intelligence agencies. But here, the intelligence agency has a country. In the 21st century, we are living a life that could be in the era when kings had all authority. Now, here in Pakistan, the head of the Army is like a king of the Middle Ages: He has the authority to decide everything.

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