On January 22, 1968 PULO was established at Mount Arafah by late Tengku Bira Kota Nila / Kabir Abdul Rahman with some Patani leading scholars then residing in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
And again, on the occasion of January 22, 2010, PULO reached its 42nd year of serving the Patani people. Reaching this middle age, PULO is just like a man with full of life experiences, living through a variety of life complexities with both success and setbacks which can be held as guidance for future’s glory and excellence.
PULO nowadays is already in a level of sufficient excitatory than ever before. All strategies that have been organized since the leadership election held eight months ago on June 2, 2009, has been proceeding smoothly and implemented according to schedule as set, with reasonable recorded success.
In conjunction with the commemoration of 42 years, PULO choose “Ummah Unity and Patani Freedom” as a theme of a direction to strengthen efforts for the achievement of the so called 5D strategy planning which has been successfully implemented.
One of these strategies which is the PULO’s main agenda, is to empower Patani national claims involving as many Patani liberation movements possible, i.e. working together towards putting Patani liberation movements in a high current momentum and a common effort to find a solution for the Patani issue with a broad, strong and comprehensive international support, an approach which is always blocked by the Thais at all time by various means, directly or indirectly.
Thailand considers Patani issue as its country’s internal affairs which cannot be interfered with by any parties, regionally or internationally. The Pattani issue that Thailand is trying to expose is merely as issues of poverty, conflicts of interest, injustice etc. All are aimed at hiding the colonial issue and over the issue of robbing the rights and sovereignty of Patani Malay race. Instead, PULO and Patani liberation movements are ready to have regional or international parties as key player in moving forward peace process in Patani region, an attempt that Thailand is also trying to avoid for fear of becoming an international issue.
A mediator or third party is considered as noxious poison by Abhisit administration and Thailand, but as honey to Patani liberation movements. The reason is simply because when there are mediators involved, Thai awful things and behaviour will be disclosed and the rightful truth will be on Patani freedom fighters’ side. Therefore all blockade efforts taken by Thailand to restrict the role of mediation will fail because it will be their own death blow. The most feared is, if there be a room for independence demand and the Patani people treated fairly by the international community, especially after the end peace efforts, advantages will be on freedom fighters, with possibility of leading to fully independence.
In preventing such move, Thailand is putting much effort to do something even though how bitter it is for them. An opposition Pua Thai (For Thais) party suggested the idea of ‘Greater Patani’ (Maha nakhorn Pattani) plan, a model associated with the ancient history of glorious ancient Langkasukan Patani, the Abhisit government had in principle agreed in adjusting into a new political scenario because the idea was greeted warmly by the Patani people. This is the first time in the history of the Patani Malay uprising against Thai colonialism. The Patani people can speak out with so loud and bold in seminars and forums, on TV and newspapers’ coverage. Although it looks like it was uncontrollable but nevertheless it is still benefitting the Patani people, increasing morale among its community in a situation that is difficult to be easily prevented ever again. Patani has become a bargain issue for Thai politicians to gain votes.
This may be tolerated by the Abhisit government hoping it can absorb and eventually eliminate the independence claims striven by Patani liberation movements, meaning the Thai government neither need peace with freedom fighters nor the mediators on Patani issue as most people seem pleased with the new environment. Later, according to the Thai government, it needs just to invite people to sit down and discuss to establish the desired form of government by the people to leave the Patani liberation movements as desolation issue. This is the view that Abhisit government may have in mind.
But in reality it is actually not so. Those who welcomed the idea and model of ‘Greater Pattani’ or Patani Affairs Ministry (Tabuang) proposed by Matuphum (Motherland) party, are in fact the unsung Patani heroes (directly or indirectly affiliated with liberation movements) pending for any possible opportunity in any political space that exists in filling their nature of moving openly and lawfully where Patani freedom fighters do not have the opportunity to participate and for those that do not support this (open or underground nature), they will not be interested in ideas like these in the first place.
Year 2010 is the year that can be viewed as a new landscape where Patani liberation struggle is changing the face towards a more advantage to the Patani liberation movements that are active in all aspects. Close cooperation between them has made many things possible and never before this could be achieved. But it has already been carried out successfully. Perhaps the word BRN, PULO, BIPP or Mujahideen will not be necessarily mentioned again in the near future, instead, they could be merged and bore the name only as ‘the Patani Liberation Movement (PLM) or Gerakan Pembebasan Patani (GPP) and GPP will then be the only sole legitimate representative of the Patani Malay people.