Theory & Struggle

The Pashtun Spring

Theory & Struggle (2019), 120, (1), 100–111.

Abstract

For forty years since 1979, the region bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan known as the Pashtun belt has experienced permanent war. Since 2012, the US ‘Pivot to Asia’ strategy has confronted China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project, which includes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), viewed by the US as a threat to its military and economic power in the Indian Ocean region. The clash between US strategic interests, CPEC and the arrival of China and Russia in the Arabian Sea confirms the Pashtun belt as a fulcrum of world imperialism. In 2018, a mass, secular, nationalist protest movement erupted in Pakistan, threatening the political and cultural dominance of Islamist parties and militias that has existed in the Pashtun belt since 2002. This Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), or Pashtun Protection Movement, constitutes a critical development of Pashtun nationalism challenging Pakistans pro-imperialist policy under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) government.

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Author details

Shah, Saleem