An anti-racism video speaking out against stereotypes about the Pashtun community in Pakistan went viral after it referred to Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) chief Mannzoor Pashteen as an “extremist.”
The video’s message was to convey that all Pashtuns, Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochis, Muhajirs and other communities living in Pakistan are equal. Shot by Nashpati Prime, it displays the message: “Say no to racism. We belong to one nation Pakistan.”
In it, a girl explains why she is not getting married and tells a boy to not marry a Pashtun because they are always “criticizing” Pakistan and she calls them “short-tempered” and “extremist.” To this, the man responds that not every Pashtun is like “extremist Pashteen” and it is not “right to blame the whole nation for one individual.”
The video was called out on social media for spreading propaganda against the Pashtun community with #IamPashteen trending on Twitter.
Mohsin Dawar, leader of the PTM said: “Such blatantly racist vitriol against Pashtuns is not new. We experience it first-hand every day. Demanding rights for our people, demanding justice and demanding an end to atrocities committed against our people does not make us extremists. Strongly #Condemnable and #Sharamnak [shameful].”
Marvi Sirmed, a senior journalist said: “Pashteen extremist? Wow. Even entertainment industry is hostage to so called 5th generation war. Branding Manzoor Pashteen as “extremist”. He highlights important issues using peaceful democratic means. Yet, he is extremist and Taliban are good. What a nasty little world.”
Nida Kirmani, a faculty member at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, said: “Guess what? Your attempt at anti-racism is deeply racist!”
Talat Aslam, a senior journalist said: “Did no one tell them that Pakhtun, Pashtun and Pashteen mean exactly the same thing in different dialects of Pashto/Pakhto?”
The PTM has been highlighting the plight of the 40 million Pashtuns living in Pakistan and even addressed the 45th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Friday.
Other than Pashtuns, the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) and the World Sindhi Congress (WSC) also protested outside the UN building in Geneva against Pakistan’s human rights violations and demanded UN intervention.