Microblogging website Twitter restored the account of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen on Tuesday, after a brief suspension.
In the late hours of Monday, visitors to the Twitter profile of Pashteen were greeted with a generic message saying, “This account has been suspended.”
Pashteen, 26, has spent years drawing attention to the plight of the Pashtun people, especially those from Waziristan and other parts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.
This came only a few days after the Pashteen-led PTM managed to hold a notable rally at the Lahore’s illustrious Mochi Gate.
Users showed support by directly requesting Twitter to restore Pashteen’s account. “Hi, Jack. Please un-suspend @manzoorpashteen’s twitter account. Manzoor is currently the leading voice for human rights in Pakistan and social media is the only mean available to him as there is a blackout of him in Pakistan’s mainstream media.”
Hi @jack > Please un-suspend @manzoorpashteen twitter account. Manzoor is currently the leading voice for human rights in Pakistan and social media is the only mean available with him as there is blackout of him in Pakistan’s mainstream media.
— Saleem (@memzarma) April 23, 2018
Urging Twitter to overturn the suspension, Rabia Mehmood, an Amnesty South Asia Researcher asked, “Jack, why has twitter suspended account of a Pakistani civil rights movement’s leader?? He has been fighting for the just cause of demanding dignity and constitutional rights of his community. What can possibly be wrong with that?”
.@jack why has twitter suspended account of a Pakistani civil rights movement’s leader?? He has been fighting for the just cause of demanding dignity and constitutional rights of his community. What can possibly be wrong with that? https://t.co/AT2hYrDYbi
— Rabia Mehmood – رابعہ (@Rabail26) April 23, 2018
In December 2017, in an effort to curb a reputation of faulty policy enforcement, Twitter announced that it would enforce a fresh set of guidelines to reduce ‘abusive and violent content’.
Twitter says any accounts that fail to abide by their rules will be permanently suspended.
However, it remains unclear why the PTM leader’s account was suspended by the social media website, as Twitter has yet to give an explanation for the suspension.
Pashteen emerged as an activist for his tribe, the Mahsuds, in 2014. It took another four years for him to come to prominence, in January, after the death of Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was shot dead in Karachi, in an alleged police encounter. Pashteen led demonstrations in Islamabad to protest Mehsud’s killing.
In the recent months, Manzoor Pashteen has emerged as a rising champion of the Pashtun cause, while leading a fast-growing movement of thousands from Pakistan’s Pashtun minority— the country’s second-biggest ethnic group who form roughly 15 per cent of the country’s 207 million people.
The devastation he speaks of is the demolition of Pashtun homes during military operations and Pashtuns’ sense of humiliation at the hands of authorities. FATA— Pashteen’s heartland— situated near the border with Afghanistan, is one of the world’s most important geopolitical areas.