The Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) is a struggle for human rights; and supremacy of the law and constitution of Pakistan. This is something that those who label it as ‘anti-state’ or treacherous need to understand. If we look observe the recent past, the PTM was initially known as Mehsud Tahaffuz Movement (MTM), which was actively working for the rights of Mehsud people in DI Khan and Waziristan, against the injustices of the political administration, the state and non-state actors. Later on, when these people came out from their area, demanding their due rights, they were supported by people from other areas, who were also victims of the state’s discrimination and injustices. It was then that this struggle for equal rights was renamed as the PTM. The tragic extra-judicial murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud has given it more strength. This became amply clear when people of various ethnicities, from every corner of the country staged a protest in front of the National Press Club, Islamabad. This was termed the ‘Pashtun Grand Jirga’. Today, the PTM is an organised force; not only demanding justice for Naqeebullah, but also demanding removing of landmines from FATA, and that security forces and the political administration refrain from imposing suffocating curfews, that LEAs and security forces stop using check posts to humiliate the local populace, that check posts be handed over to local levies or Khasadar forces, that all missing persons be released and those with charges against them be presented in court and the end of extra-judicial executions. Lets not forget, all these demands are being made after the miserable time these people have spent in IDP camps. The records show that a total of 1,710 missing persons cases are pending with the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances. These include 1,027 cases from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA alone. It is FATA and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) where internment centres have been established under the Actions (in Aid to Civil Power) Regulations 2011, where security forces can detain people for an unlimited period of time. Perhaps the only reason the rest of the country doesn’t share the Pashtun people’s grievances is because-fortunately — not a single internment centre exists in the rest of the country. Being a student of law, I have met many human rights activists in the recent years, from various cities of the country, who were ignorant about the Actions (in Aid to Civil Power) Regulations 2011. Shockingly some of them couldn’t even differentiate between FATA and PATA and knew little — if anything — about the administration and legal system operating in these areas. I am sure; very few of us have ever travelled to FATA or PATA in recent years and might have never witnessed the feelings of someone returning home after spending years in camps when they found their homes destroyed. Those labelling the PTM as anti-state for receiving praise from across the border, ought to remember that the Pakistani citizens and state frequently provide ideological support for freedom and civil rights movements in Kashmir and Palestine Today, when we browse YouTube, we can find dozens of coloured documentary videos of World War II, but there is nothing available about the 17 years long war fought in FATA. When people criticise PTM’s ethnic politics, perhaps they should also acknowledge that they have never endured the kind of suffering undergone by the tribal Pashtuns, and that they know little — if anything — about what has gone on in FATA in recent years. Here we must ask, why has the free media had no access to FATA? Why have we learnt nothing about the rehabilitation work that supposedly went on their after the area’s population went back to their destroyed homes? Why are patriotic Pakistan is silent on the ill-treatment and exploitation of their own countrymen? And why are they being labelled as terrorists for demanding their rights? Which of their demands are illegitimate? Are those demanding the release of their loved ones, who have been extra-judicially abducted by the state, traitors? Is it anything but a platform for aggrieved people to express their grievances? Those labelling the PTM as anti-state for receiving praise from across the border, ought to remember that the Pakistani citizens and state frequently provide ideological support for freedom and civil rights movements in Kashmir and Palestine. So does this make Kashmiris and Palestinians traitors too? People may and dislike the style in which the PTM criticizing some national institutions, which might be the only weakness in the struggle for rights, but still their claims are legal and legitimate. It is encouraging that finally, young blood has come out against the FCR, terrorism and are asking for equal legal rights, for peace and are doing so in a peaceful and non-violent manner within the legal and constitutional framework of the country. The writer is a Peshawar-based lawyer.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @s_irshadahmad Published in Daily Times, April 24th 2018.