June 25th, 2021
By Ahmed Saeed
Former spokesperson of the banned terrorist organization Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Ehsanullah Ehsan seems to be running a Facebook account to spread anti-state propaganda and TTP-related information.
Two sources who are close to Ehsan confirmed to Voicepk.net that the account is being run by the former TTP spokesperson himself. The account has more than 100 ‘friends’ and mentions that the user “lives in Istanbul, Turkey.”
In 2017, Ehsan surrendered to the security forces but, instead of being tried under terrorism charges, was kept in a ‘safe house’. He was wanted by law enforcement agencies in various cases of terrorism, including the attack on Malala Yousafzai.
He later escaped from protective custody and has now reportedly settled in Turkey.
The former TTP spokesperson uses the social media account to comment on the ongoing political and social happenings in Pakistan.
Purpose of the account
Following the sudden and mysterious death of former Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Senator Usman Kakar, Ehsan wrote that “Usman Kakar’s death is not an accident. He was killed by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan. The hit list given to me included the name of Usman Kakar. The next turn is of Dr. Syed Alam Mehsud and Afrasiab Khattak. If they cannot shoot directly, they will be killed by accident. The method has been changed to avoid reaction.”
Mohsin Dawar, an independent lawmaker from South Waziristan, tweeted a screenshot of this and said “This is extremely worrying that terrorists like Ehsanullah Ehsan are hinting at even more attacks on Pashtun leaders in the future. We demand clear investigations as per the demands of #UsmanKakarShaheed’s family.”
The former TTP spokesperson also commented on the Jani Khel protesters, who have been demonstrating against the killing of a tribal elder by militants in the area for the past three weeks. In the post, he warned that Pashtuns cannot forget the injustices and atrocities that have befallen them and will take revenge at the appropriate time.
Disseminating TTP news
In addition to these posts, the Ehsan also used the account to share news and information about the banned terrorist outfit TTP. In a post dated June 13, 2021, Ehsan posted revealed details of new appointments among the outfit’s ranks. He mentioned that disgruntled elements of the TTP have started to rejoin the ranks of the terrorist organization. He added that “These new appointments will not only speed up the TTP’s operations but will also have a positive impact on the militants within the organization.”
Ehsan is also using his account to run a propaganda campaign against opponents and disgruntled elements. Responding to reports militant commander Akhtar Muhammad’s defection from the TTP to a rival faction, Ehsan criticised Akbar Muhammad, and hinted that he is not disciplined and only joined the TTP for his personal gain.
The former TTP spokesperson was involved in the terrorist attack on girls’ rights activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012. Malala survived the attempt on her life and settled in the UK. Ehsan has continued to rail against Malala online. He periodically writes posts maligning the Nobel laureate. He also reportedly extended death threats to her on Twitter, however his account was suspended when Malala brought it to attention.
Can his Facebook profile be blocked?
Digital rights experts state Facebook can remove this account on the basis of spreading hateful content. Usama Khilji, Executive Director of the digital rights organization Bolo Bhi, said that it is the duty of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to report such accounts to the website’s administration and request them to take these accounts down.
“Facebook can remove this page as it comes under the category of dangerous individuals and organizations, and the content of this account is inciting violence. The PTA must move Facebook against this account,” Khilji posited.
He added that the PTA usually files complaints to Facebook against Pakistani journalists and activists, however, if the authority is really concerned about the safety of Pakistanis, then it must remove Ehsan’s account.
When Voicepk.net contacted the PTA inquired whether or not the authority reached out to the Facebook in this regard, the body’s spokesperson stated he was unaware of such an account and that he will check the records whether any complaint has been made so far.