Scores of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) supporters held a demonstration in Peshawar on Saturday to protest against the registration of cases against PTM leaders by the Balochistan government earlier this week.
On Tuesday, Killa Saifullah police had registered an FIR against PTM leaders including Manzoor Pashteen, Haji Hidayatullah, Ali Wazir, Khan Zaman Kakar and others, as they were reportedly protesting against enforced disappearances, extrajudicial arrests and killings, as well as the alleged mistreatment of the Pakhtun community by law enforcement agencies.
The protesters, belonging to PTM's Khyber Paktunkhwa chapter, chanted slogans against the federal and Balochistan government, and demanded of the government to withdraw the FIR filed against the movement’s leaders.
"They were demanding their basic rights," a protester said, adding that instead of giving them assurances the Balochistan government went on to register an FIR against PTM leaders.
The protester said action against the "peaceful protesters" was "injustice and an attempt to drown the Pashtun voices raised for the provision of basic rights to the community".
“We will not be afraid of such tactics,” he said, adding that they will continue their protest under the banner of PTM.
Reports of Pakthun protests in Islamabad first made headlines following the extrajudicial killing of Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud — a shopkeeper and aspiring model — in Karachi.
According to a recent New York Times column penned by a writer from Waziristan, Mehsud's murder became a tipping point that compelled young Pakthuns to gather and protest against 16 years of frustration and pain caused by the rise of militancy.
The column said militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, and subsequent counter-terror operations, caused millions to be displaced from their homes, with residents plagued by arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and the loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.
Leaders of PTM — which is an organisation working for the rights of those affected by the war on terror in Tribal Areas especially those from South Waziristan — claim that in the past decade, 32,000 Pashtuns have gone missing from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
They insist that their struggle was 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.