LAHORE: Pashtun Tahafuz Movement leader Manzoor Pashteen says more than 32,000 Pashtuns have gone missing from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) during the last one decade.

He was speaking to students and civil society activists at the office of the Progressive Students Collective (PSC) on Tuesday. The Pashtun students from various educational institutions of the city were present.

Pashteen, who leads the organisation working for the rights of those affected by war on terror in Tribal Areas especially those from South Waziristan, said they were struggling to ensure implementation of the Constitution under which the law-enforcement agencies are supposed to provide details of the people they pick up and present them before courts.

‘32,000 Pashtuns go missing in Fata in a decade’

He said the parents of those who had gone missing in the last one decade had been waiting for their loved ones but there was no one to heed their cries. “People are taken into custody by LEAs in front of their families,” he said.

Highlighting the ordeal of a labourer from South Waziristan, he said Muhammad Din (and his wife) had been living in Dera Ismail Khan as an internally displaced person for the last eight years in the hope of being contacted by his missing son (there are mobile network issues in their South Waziristan abode).

Similarly, he said, the mother of a missing person contacted him (Pashteen) daily to check when her son would return.

He said the Pushtun were also facing the humiliation of ethnic profiling by LEAs. He said their people including women and children had to suffer humiliation at check posts and especially during search operations after any incident.

A student activist said they were supporting the cause Pashteen had been fighting for because he is standing tall against the oppression.

Another activist said it’s the duty of the state to provide security, health, employment and other basic facilities to all but, unfortunately, the Pashtun had been deprived of these rights for decades.

National Students Federation President Sabir Ali Haider said it was a routine that anyone who stands against brutality is declared anti-state. He said the state should abandon its policies such as “enforced disappearances”.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2018

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