On 13 January 2019, Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), or ‘Movement for Safety and Security of the Pashtuns’ held a rally in Tank to observe the first anniversary of the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, a young Pashtun from Waziristan killed in Karachi. Manzoor Pashteen, the founder of PTM, had organized the movement initially for a good cause. Formerly known as the Mehsud Tahafuz Movement, it was started in May 2014 by eight students at Gomal University as an initiative for removing landmines from Waziristan (especially Mehsud territory) and other parts of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas, affected by the war in North-West Pakistan. The brutal slaying of Naqeebullah Mehsud morphed the organisation into PTM, which organised protest rallies in most major cities including Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, Swat, Karachi, Dera Ismail Khan, Swab, and Bannu.The PTM rallies were now aimed at launching protests to highlight the plight of the Pashtun community, the second largest ethnic group in Pakistan, comprising nearly 15.42 per cent of the population. Around this time, forces inimical to Pakistan, appear to have started sponsoring PTM. PTM also picked up the cudgel for the recovery of missing persons and included in its demands the removal of the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), the release of missing persons, end to humiliation of Pashtuns at security checkpoints, and removal of landmines in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Perhaps under pressure of the protest rallies, Naqeebullah Mehsud’s alleged killer, Senior Superintendent of Police of Karachi’s Malir District, Rao Anwar, was arrested on the charge of extra-judicial killing. Policies, which were already in the pipeline, were expedited. The FATA Interim Governance Regulation 2018, signed by the President of Pakistan on May 28, 2018, replaced the FCR and outlined how FATA would be governed, “within a timeframe of two years”, while the region was merged with the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). On 13 January 2019, Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement, or ‘Movement for Safety and Security of the Pashtuns’ held a rally in Tank to observe the first anniversary of the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, a young Pashtun from Waziristan killed in KarachiAfter these developments, the movement for the protection of the rights of the Pashtuns appears to be misplaced. The ethnic community resides on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border. Afghans claim that the international border established in 1896 following an agreement between Sir Mortimer Durand, a British diplomat and civil servant of the British Raj, and Abdur Rahman Khan, the Afghan Amir, was limited to 100 years only, and ceased to exist afterwards. The original document signed by both dignitaries does not mention any limitation on the extent of the period for the border. The Afghans, however lay claim to vast swathes of territory inside Pakistan, where Pashtuns are settled, and demand its return to form a greater Afghanistan. In Pakistan, Pashtuns mostly occupy the north-western part of the country and have the second largest representation in the Pakistan Army as well. They have ample representation in the provincial as well as the Federal governments. Despite bearing the brunt of terror attacks as well as the destruction and havoc wreaked during the civil war in Afghanistan (1979-1989), and later the invasion of Afghanistan by NATO following 9/11, the Pashtuns have survived and even thrived. There is a possibility that anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan as well as certain detractors of Pakistan have been the driving force behind PTM, providing it financial and moral support. International media too was highlighting the activities of this manifestation of Pashtun nationalism in Pakistan. Some Pakistani politicians also openly subscribe to the demands of PTM.The state of Pakistan has taken cognizance of this potentially disintegrative development; although, following the emergence of the PTM, Pashtun leaders Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir fought the general elections of 2018 as independent candidates and secured their respective seats in the Parliament. In the year that followed the advent of PTM, the rallies have dwindled down, albeit under pressure by law enforcing agencies. The perception that the movement is a proxy of external forces, especially India, to de-stabilise Pakistan, has made it lose steam. On 11 August 2018, the PTM leader arrived in Swabi to pay a visit to the tomb of Kargil hero Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed but Sher Khan’s brother stopped Manzoor Pashteen from entering the tomb’s premises. Anwar Sher, the brother of the martyr and Nishan-e-Haider recipient, stated that he found the activities of PTM anti-army and oppressive. Addressing the Waziristan tribesmen accompanying Manzoor Pashteen, Anwar Sher added that his brother sacrificed his life for the country, “our Pathan brethren and Waziristan tribesmen”. Anwar Sher’s protest forced Pashteen and his men to leave without visiting the tomb.Against this backdrop, it is time for PTM to reflect upon its losses and gains. The balance sheet should convince Manzoor Pashteen to decide whether he wants to lead a social movement or be manipulated by external agencies for their vested interests. The writer is a retired Group Captain of PAF. He is a columnist, analyst and TV talk show host, who has authored six books on current affairs, including three on ChinaPublished in Daily Times, February 2nd 2019.