From Protest to Proxy

11:29 AM | 5 Jun, 2018
From Protest to Proxy
Few survived the Arab spring that started from Tunisia but soon became a call across the Arab world.  It did not reach Pakistan but the idea appealed to the like-minded.

Post 9/11, Pakistan had to make a tough call. Clear out insurgents or be cleared off the map.

Soon after,  Balochistan stood on the verge of freedom from the greater State. The victim accused Pakistan of being a repressive state clawing on the prey due to its resources. The opposite narrative where the elders of dominant tribes continued to enjoy state benefits and feudalism to keep a following was overturned when negotiations failed to pave the way for the socio-economic betterment and law enforcement agencies in the area were targeted.

Days later,  in resistance, a prominent leader was killed by the forces.  Protests against the killing and arrests that followed later made way to the international press and few local sleeper cells were activated.  Balochistan suddenly became an occupied land but a perfect pretext to engage Pakistan silently.

When many thought Pakistan had seen it all, there came another uprising.  Not in months but days. Shorthanded as PTM,  with one leading man, the Federally administrated area in the Northwest of Pakistan took at the state and its agencies once again.

The slogans raised were not new but become a threat to the normalization of the valley.  The area was cleared of insurgents when Pakistan launched its own war on terror.  Like the previous movement that took place in Balochistan, the PTM was not short of international sympathy.  Many questioned the legality of the protest and demands made by PTM but perhaps when protests are designed to achieve goals other than the genuine grievances of the actual group -  legal means are not in the handbook.

Recent reports of clashes between the followers of PTM and the Amman Committee are followed by Pakistan's decision to merge those tribal areas into KPK.  The news was enough to suck out the oxygen the PTM thrived on.  Pakistan is securing its Afghan front with a fence. The supporters of PTM on the other side of the fence are not pleased -  with the fence and the merger of FATA.

Genuine protests in most countries are resolved without third-party intervention. Stronger governments turn to the means necessary to not leave a vacuum for exploitation. In case of  Pakistan,  the support for such movements raises alarms when other states or certain actors in form of activists are involved.  Protests then do not remain protests but proxies against a state.
The clash between the PTM followers and the Amman committee and Afghanistan's escalation on the border are not mere coincidences but the enemy's enemy is a friend proxy at play. If not understood and addressed urgently,  the clash between the PTM and local bound peace committee could spring a civil war type situation for Pakistan.

Pakistan does not need to read the older chapters of world history nor its own but only the recent. Protests have turned into civil wars,  civil wars have led to more wars.  Pakistan remains to be an active ground for such proxies that when combined are more lethal than direct attacks.  Pakistan has been dodging the invisible bullets, but to counter the recent act by PTM,  it needs to address the cause no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

Aisha Saeed is an independent Research Analyst on Media and Foreign Policy


Pakistani rupee exchange rate to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 27 Feb 2024

Pakistani currency remains largely stable against US dollar in the open market on February 27, 2024 (Tuesday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.4 for buying and 282.3 for selling.

Euro currently stands at 303 for buying and 306 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 76.7.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 27 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.4 282.3
Euro EUR 303 306
UK Pound Sterling GBP 351.5 355
U.A.E Dirham AED 76 76.7
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.2 75
Australian Dollar AUD 181 183
Bahrain Dinar BHD 742.91 750.91
Canadian Dollar CAD 207 209
China Yuan CNY 38.82 39.22
Danish Krone DKK 40.56 40.96
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.7 36.05
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.10 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 905.46 914.46
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.49 59.09
New Zealand Dollar NZD 173.05 175.05
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.36
Omani Riyal OMR 725.54 733.54
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.74 77.44
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 209
Swedish Korona SEK 27.04 27.34
Swiss Franc CHF 317 319.5
Thai Bhat THB 7.76 7.91


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