PESHAWAR: Despite a last minute decision of the district administration to ban public gatherings, hundreds of people staged a rally here on Saturday against the growing incidents of militancy in the province.

The administration had imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on Saturday afternoon, slapping a ban on the gathering of five or more people in the provincial capital.

However, the rally was held as planned by the Peshawar Ulasi Pasoon (Peshawar Public Uprising) with the support of nationalist parties, including Awami National Party, National Democratic Movement, Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement and civil society groups.

The protesters, including scores of youth and women, carried white flags, placards and banners demanding an effective crackdown on militancy in the province for peace.

Participants demand effective clampdown on militants

The police deployed personnel in large numbers for the security of protesters, while roads leading to the Peshawar Press Club were closed with barricades.

Noted among speakers were ANP central general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussian, PTM chief Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen and NDM leader Mohsin Dawar.

Mr Hussain said that Pakhtuns would go to any extent to ensure peace on their land.

He said protest demonstrations in Swat, Bajaur, Waziristan and other Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions had stemmed the tide of militancy there.

“We all will eliminate the shenanigans of the enemies of peace from all over the province,” he said.

The ANP leader said voices against militancy couldn’t be silenced through targeted killings.

He said Pakhtuns won’t allow the “business of war” on their land.

Mr Hussain said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police were constantly targeted by militants and that 102 people, mostly policemen, lost life in the recent Peshawar mosque bombing.

He alleged that spokesman for the banned militant outfit TTP Ehsanullah Ehsan was allowed to flee from custody.

The ANP leader wondered why the National Action Plan against militancy hadn’t been implemented in letter and spirit despite its approval by the country’s political and military leadership.

NDM chief Mohsin Dawar said Pakistan’s security establishment and international powers handed over Afghanistan to the Taliban, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was being given away to the same group.

He, however, said Pakhtuns were alert and won’t allow their land to burn in the flames of war while sticking to Bacha Khan’s philosophy of non-violence.

PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen paid homage to the martyrs of the Peshawar police lines bombing and said all Pakhtuns shared the grief of the families of the deceased.

He claimed that the terrorist attack against police was the part of over two decades long war against Pakhtuns.

“Pakhtuns are being targeted in the name of religion,” he said.

Mr Pashteen said the ongoing war against militancy was imposed by the establishment to receive American dollars and that Pakhtuns should step out of their homes to say no to it.

He also urged Pakhtuns to shun the barriers of regionalism, tribes and organisations.

The PTM leader said the areas, where anti-militancy protests hadn’t taken place yet, should also hold gatherings against to that bloodletting for American dollars.

“We will arrange these protests. If our demands are not met, then we will gather Pakhtuns to set up our own courts,” he said.

Mr Pakhteen said repeated calls for the establishment of the truth and reconciliation commission on the matter were ignored.

JUI-F PEACE MARCHES: Jamiat-i-Ulema-Islam-Fazl has decided to stage peace marches across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to show solidarity with the families of those, who were martyred in the Jan 30 Peshawar mosque bombing, from Feb 5 to Feb 12.

The decision was taken by the executive council of the JUI-F’s provincial chapter, according to a statement.

JUI-F provincial chief Senator Maulana Attaur Rehman chaired the meeting, where senior party leaders Maulana Attaul Haq Darwaish, Syed Hidayatullah Shah, Mufti Fazl Ghafoor and others were in attendance.

The executive committee directed the district level setup of the party to arrange peace marches and rallies at district and tehsil levels across the province.

Our Correspondent from Lower Dir adds: Civil society and political activists staged a peace march outside the Tamergara Press Club on Saturday to condemn the Peshawar police lines mosque bombing.

Holding banners and placards the protesters shouted slogans against terrorists, paid tribute to martyrs and called for peace.

The speakers, including PDM district president and former MPA Haji Bahadar Khan, Malik Mohammad Zeb, Muzaffar Syed, Nawabzada Mahmood Zeb Khan, Malik Azmat Khan, Sardar Javed Tajik, Qazi Ayaz and Malik Shah Naseem, said the Peshawar bomb blast was an attack against the entire Pakhtun nation.

They said the nation stood by the police in the current hour of grief and sorrow against militants, who wanted to spread unrest and chaos in the country.

The speakers demanded of the government to deal with those behind the bombing with an iron hand.

They said the residents would render all possible sacrifices for peace in Lower Dir.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2023



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