The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) held a public gathering in Miran Shah, the capital of North Waziristan, on Sunday. The meeting was addressed by Manzoor Pashteen, PTM chief, North and South Waziristan lawmakers Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar including former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar, former ANP leader Afrasiab Khattak and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party senator Usman Kakar.
PTM members had reached Miran Shah in vehicles from far off distances of Pashtunistan to attend the rally, and were carrying white and black flags.
Ironically, Pakistani media continued its unofficial ban on showing the PTM (Pashtun Tahafuz Movement) rallies and press conferences in its news reports. However, photos, videos and news of the rally were widely shared across social media platforms.
“Those who say that PTM (Pashtun Tahafuz Movement) is over, if they come here today, they will see PTM everywhere,” said PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen while addressing the massive gathering.
PTM leader Mohsin Dawar said in his speech that this grand rally was a public referendum in which people are demanding justice for the victims of terrorism. “Our people are not ready to be used in any future games of the state,” he said.
The participants called for an end to enforced disappearances, killings and abuses of civilians, as well as for the military to abide by the constitution.
The Pakistani military has accused the PTM of having the support of Afghanistan and India and being involved in anti-state activities.
PTM denies these allegations as “government propaganda.” The movement says that it believes in the peaceful struggle for civil rights enshrined in the Pakistani constitution. The organization’s leaders said that those who are issuing treason certificates should reconsider their anti-citizen policies.
Manzoor Pashteen has said several times about Pashtun’s movement that PTM is a civil movement and not a political party and that the Pashtun
Tahafuz Movement will continue to struggle for the rights of Pashtuns.
PTM leaders have been under attack by the Pakistani state institutions including its army and intelligence agencies. This year in May, PTM’s prominent leader Ali Wazir’s cousin Arif Wazir was shot in front of his home, who later succumbed to his injuries in Islamabad.
Earlier, in January, PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen was arrested from Peshawar for his speech in Dera Ismail Khan during which he said that the 1973 Constitution violated basic human rights. A day later, Mohsin Dawar was arrested from outside the Islamabad Press Club alongside several other individuals while protesting Manzoor Pashteen’s detention.
Last year, Arman Looni, a core committee member of PTM was allegedly tortured to death by the Police. Mohsin Dawar has been arrested a couple of times more and has been stopped by the police to enter Balochistan.
The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) has been demanding that a commission be set up to investigate state abuses, punish those responsible in accordance with the law, withdraw false cases, compensate the families of victims of terrorism and improve the overall situation in Pashtunistan. PTM has also demanded that a conciliation commission should be set up as well.