Pashteen warns of widening their protest

| Demands release of ‘abducted’ activists, ‘missing persons’ | Vows to adopt legal path for securing rights

KARACHI - Pashtun Tahafuz Movement leader Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen has warned authorities of launching a ‘worldwide’ protest if they fail to release their activists, allegedly picked up ahead of their rally, in two days.

Speaking to a huge public gathering here on Sunday, he also demanded formation of a truth and reconciliation commission to find the facts behind ‘missing person’ issue.

A large number of the people attended the gathering. They were carrying placards and banners inscribed with slogans and demands in favour of the missing persons while they also chanted slogans against the security forces.

To ensure security and public order, law enforcement agencies had cordon off the entire area at main Sohrab Goth. Hundreds of police and rangers personnel were deployed along the road from Sohrab Goth to Karachi Toll Plaza.

PTM was schedule to hold a rally on May 12 at Karachi’s Jinnah Bagh but the venue was changed as the authorities allowed the movement to stage its gathering at the ground near Al-Asif Square in Sohrab Goth on May 13.

Earlier the same day (Sunday), PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen was refused a boarding pass for a flight from Islamabad to Karachi, forcing him to travel by road to attend the Karachi rally.

As per media reports, Pashteen on his way was briefly detained at Bhahawalpur and then at Hyederabad which delayed his arrival.

Addressing the public meeting, the PTM leader said that Karachi suffered massive extrajudicial killings and thousands of people who came to the port city from other areas of the country remained a soft target.

“Rao Anwar killed 440 innocent people but he is not aware that Pashtun never forget their enemies. If we are untied then no new Rao Anwar would be born in future.”

Talking about the May 12 carnage, Pashteen said that General Musharraf claimed victory [of peace] while he allowed [militant elements of] some political forces to openly carry out bloodbath in the city, whereas, [TTP spokesman] Ehsanullah Ehsan was given VIP treatment after he had helped killed thousands of innocents.

“We will get our rights through constitutional means and will not let Ehasn and Musharraf go scot-free,” he said.

Mohsin Dawer in his address said that security agencies, frightened by the success and popularity of PTM, tried to create hurdles in the way of this public gathering and dozens of their workers were “abducted”. PTM leadership demand immediate release of works or their protest will continue, he warned.

Social activist Jibran Nasir said the PTM does not represent any specific ethnic or religious groups and its agenda was to secure the release of all the missing persons irrespective of caste, creed and political affiliation.

He said that the national flag should give sense of security to all the citizens but state and its security apparatus had failed to do their job. “Pakistan is our country, it belongs to us [citizens] and not the security agencies,” he said.

Jibran maintained that the chief ministers of the four provinces were unable to control the police and rangers while political parties had failed to provide justice to the citizens. He suggested that the young leadership of PTM should take part in the upcoming elections.

Constitution defines how to carry on the democracy in the country and run affairs but the history shows that democrats like GM Syed and Bacha Khan were imprisoned over their stance and those who jailed them were conspirators and traitors as they made anti-democratic moves and violated the constitution, he maintained.

Addressing the rally, another senior PTM leader Ali Wazir said that Pashtun of the country reached Karachi to seek jobs and work, and they never promoted terrorism in the metropolis.

He alleged the security institutions of victimising the people in the name of security and pitting different ethnic groups against each other.

“It is regrettable that the ‘disciplinary institution’ [army] created a warlike situation between the MQM and Pashtuns [in Karachi] which resulted in the death of hundreds,” he alleged.

He also alleged the security establishment of stabbing in the back of the people of tribal areas.

Ali Wazir added: “Let me remind you that the during the army operation our families were displaced in the name of crackdown against the terrorists but surprisingly the security forces shook hands with the same terrorist elements after holding dialogues.

“Our sacrifices were not recognised and this discriminatory and anti-peace policy of the security agencies is still going on. To stop this victimisation and seeking justice, we have initiated a peaceful movement namely Pashtun Tahafuz Movement and it will continue until the accountability of security high ups.”

Terming the massive participation of people a manifestation of the unification of all communities, Wazir said that people from different ethnic backgrounds were in support of the PTM.

“I am not going to reiterate our demands, we want answers for the injustice done to the Pashtun, Balochs, Mohajirs and Sindhis,” he said, declaring the PTM will send the armed forces to borders and barracks where they actually belong.

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