The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) surprised Rawalpindi by holding another historic gathering (jalsa) at Datta Khel in North Waziristan on Wednesday, May 26 despite all pressures by the Pakistani regime to stop this gathering. The Datta Khel Pashtun jalsa was in the memory of the Kharqamar massacre that took place on May 26, 2019 in which fifteen Pashtuns lost their lives due to indiscriminate firing by the Pakistani forces.
Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) paid tribute to the martyrs of Khar Kamar and martyr Arif Wazir by holding a historically large rally in Datta Khel in North Waziristan despite the crackdowns, pressures, and arrests by Pakistani security forces. The Pashtun gathering called for an immediate release of Ali Wazir, Hanif Pashtin, Yusuf Ali Khan, Owais Abdal, among other Pashtun leaders who continue to languish in Pakistani prisons on frivolous charges.
It was announced at the Jalsa that there would be widespread protests if Pakistan continues to keep political leaders of PTM in prison. Pashtun leaders who addressed the Jalsa called for the return of Pashtun IDPs
(internally displaced people) from Afghanistan and said that it if this is not achieved then they Pashtuns will protest by sitting on the border. The PTM meeting called for indiscriminate action against the good and bad Taliban, as well as a complete cleansing of landmines and for a stop of target killings, including enforced disappearances, and demanded quick punishment Kharqamar target killers.
“..before this, our people used to be killed by landmines, but now the state has changed its way of killing,” said Manzoor Pashteen, head of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). “Target killings and extrajudicial killings are continuing and our people are being targeted on daily basis. No one knows when the court’s judiciary will take actions against this state killing actions.”
Manzoor Pashteen added that a member of parliament Ali Wazir is in the lockup, but the police officer Rao Anwar who killed more than four hundred innocent people is roaming around freely. “In North Waziristan law and order is the responsibility of the state, if there are more target killings then the state will be responsible.”
Manzoor Pashteen appealed to the world to play its role in ending terrorism in Pashtunistan. He said that Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is a peaceful movement that calls attention to set up a global commission to investigate crimes against humanity in military operations. “It is not a crime to demand peace, to protest for peace, and speak for peace,” said Manzoor Pashteen. He added that if Ali Wazir, Hanif Pashtin, Yusuf Ali, and Owais Abdal were not released soon then there will be protests for Ali Wazir in Karachi, for Hanif in Bannu, for Yusuf in Swabi, and Owais Abdal in Chaman. “We will call for a sit-in.”
In this Jalsa member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Mohsin Dawar said that the Pashtun nation has once again proved that we are a peace-loving nation. “We will not be misled by the generals. Now the international community should know that our future is not bound with Pakistan they don’t need to talk about it, now we have enough ability to make the right decisions by ourselves.”
Mohsin Dawar added that if the IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Afghanistan want to come back safely and the Pakistani state must allow them to come back. “If our demands are not accepted, we will be forced to sit-in at the border.” Mohsin Dawar said that recently Afghan President Ashraf Ghani expressed his views in an article that the Afghan nationals have a right to their choice. “Taliban does not believe in parliamentarian democracy and they shouldn’t interfere in Afghanistan. There is no need to learn about Islam from Taliban. The Taliban war in Afghanistan is against Afghans with the help of Pakistani generals that is aimed at destroying Afghan identity. The Taliban are proxies in the state of Pakistan,” said Mohsin Dawar.
Pashtuns across Pashtunistan have called this Jalsa by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) as a great success. The Pakistani state used its full might to stop this Jalsa. Yet, once again, the Pashtuns came to the streets and were united against Pakistani military atrocities.
Ironically, Pakistani media didn’t cover this massive Pashtun gathering and there was an eerie silence among Punjabi Pakistani media organisations that only report on issues cleared by Rawalpindi.
It should be noted that two years ago Pakistani forces attacked the local population in Kharqamar in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan and injured an old woman. Then on May 26, 2019 when the Pashtuns protested, Pakistani forces opened fire and killed fifteen people and injured more than 45 residents. In the memory of Kharqamar massacre at Datta Khel, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) had called for this Jalsa and once again sent a clear message to the Pakistani forces that Pashtuns would no longer remain silent against the injustices done by the Pakistani regime.