Thousands of people in South Waziristan’s Wana took to the streets on Friday against the recent wave of terrorism and demanded the immediate restoration of peace in the region.
The protest comes as terrorism is again rearing its head in the country, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
Pakistan has seen a rise in terrorist attacks across the country, believed to have been planned and directed by the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders based in Afghanistan.
The TTP, which has ideological linkages with the Afghan Taliban, executed more than 100 attacks last year, most of which happened after August when the group’s peace talks with the Pakistan government began to falter. The ceasefire was formally ended on Nov 28 by the TTP.
Yesterday, security forces killed 11 militants, including a key commander of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, in a raid in South Waziristan. Separately, two separate attacks targeting police in Lakki Marwat and Dera Ismail Khan left five officials injured.
As terrorism rears its head, residents across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have taken to the streets, demanding that the government should do more. Yesterday, thousands of people came out for peace in the Bajaur district.
In Wana today, people from all walks of life including political workers, social activists, traders and youth attended the peace march organised. Holding white flags and placards, the participants chanted slogans in favour of peace and against the fresh wave of terrorism in the region, particularly in the tribal districts.
Leaders of PPP, PTM, PML-N and AWP addressed the rally. They said the government was responsible for establishing safety and security in the region, asserting that terrorism was not acceptable at any cost.
The speakers noted that there was an increase in attacks on security personnel in Wana, while ordinary citizens were being kidnapped for extortion.
They complained that the government had failed to control the situation and warned that protests in the area would continue until a police force was constituted to eliminate both the “good and bad Taliban” from the area.
Talking to Dawn.com, Awami National Party leader Ayaz Wazir — who also attended the protest — said no one was safe in Wana, from political leaders to traders, tribal leaders and contractors.
“Today, thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand peace. We won’t sit quietly until the government guarantees peace,” he added.
Meanwhile, North Waziristan lawmaker Mohsin Dawar tweeted that the people of Wana have refused to be “used as cannon fodder and scapegoats in the new great game being imposed on the region”.
“More power to the people of Wana, South Waziristan for their resistance against terrorism,” he added.