The demands include penalisation of Rao Anwar, recovery of FATA’s missing persons, probe into extra-judicial killings of Pashtuns all over the country, and end to discrimination meted out to tribal people
ISLAMABAD: The participants of the Pashtun sit-in have refused to budge from their stated position until the government accepts their “five-point charter of demand” and arrest the suspended Malir SSP, Rao Anwar, besides ensuring the rule of law in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
The peaceful sit-in of the Pashtuns staged in front of the National Press Club, Islamabad, entered the third day on Saturday whereas the strength of the participants also witnessed a drastic increase after people from across the country started joining the protest.
State Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Babar Awan, and senior lawyer Ahmed Raza Khan Kasuri along with other dignitaries visited the sit-in venue and expressed solidarity with the participants.
CDD Minister Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said that the government is fully supporting the demands of the participants and he would leave no stone unturned to take up their issues at all forums.
He said that he would keep on visiting the sit-in till the resolution of the problems of the Pashtuns. He also said that it was the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government that foiled the bid of Roa Anwar to flee the country.
Addressing the participants, Raza Kasuri said that being a lawyer he offered his services to fight the case of Naqeebullah Mehsud.
Talking to Pakistan Today, the participants were of the view that ‘Naqeeb Shaheed’ is the name of a movement, while Rao Anwar is the name of the system [that oppresses people]; they resolved to continue the movement until the cleansing of the system from the criminals, like Rao Anwar, who bring bad name to the country.
The participants complained that the people of FATA have been passing through an ordeal for the last 12 years. They are being killed, humiliated, and all their belonging is being burnt to ashes but [still] no one can question the patriotism of the people of FATA, they added.
“There is not a single family in the trouble-hit FATA which remained unharmed or unaffected, as their houses have been destroyed and were forced to live a life as Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in tents for almost over eight years, but even then not a single person ever raised an anti-Pakistan slogan,” the participants remarked.
“Pakistan is our homeland and we are citizens of the country; hence we have all the rights to protest and raise voice if we deprived of our due rights,” said one protester.
Since the start of the war on terrorism, Pashtuns are being humiliated and their patriotism being questioned, they are being treated as aliens in the country, he lamented.
In the backdrop of discriminations against the Pashtun community, the participants demanded that they should be given equal status and equal rights.
Speaking on the occasion, Manzoor Pashteen, who led the long march from Waziristan, said that the Pashtun youth have come out on roads and they would not go back without the acceptance of their due demands.
He said that it is a decisive moment for the community to put an end to the discrimination faced by the tribal people.
Manzoor said that it is quite unfortunate that the killer of Naqeeb, Rao Anwar is still at large that is a big question mark on the intentions of the country’s policing system.
He complained that hundreds of people have lost their lives in the IED blasts but no one cares about these casualties as these people belong to FATA. The protesters demanded that these areas should be cleared of the mines forthwith.
Samreena Wazir, a lawyer from FATA, expressed surprise how Anwar was able to escape from the Islamabad airport after he was barred from leaving the country.
She asserted that Pashtuns were the most patriotic people of the country but they would no more tolerate such treatment.
She said that the people arrested from FATA should be produced in the courts and they should be tried as per law of the land; they should be given punishment if proved guilty or else they should be allowed to go free immediately. She said that the policy of the enforced disappearances would prove counter-productive.
“We respect the law of the land, we respect state institutions and we respect all citizens of the country irrespective of their race, language and caste, but we also demand an equal treatment,” she added.
MNA Maulana Jamaluddin of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami-F (JUI-F), Senior Vice President Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) Ajmal Khan Wazir, Kamran Khan, former MNA from North Waziristan, Ali Wazir and Nasir Khan were also present on the occasion.
The five-point charter of the protesters included that Rao Anwar and his network involved in the extra-judicial killing of Naqeeb Mehsud should be “apprehended and hanged”. They demanded that a judicial commission under the supervision of the chief justice of Pakistan should be set up to investigate the extra-judicial killings of Pashtuns in Karachi, FATA and other parts of the country. Their third demand is that the missing persons, especially from FATA, should be brought before the court of law and those who are innocent should be freed.
The fourth demand was that the law enforcement agencies often resort to indiscriminate and disproportionate measures like using violence, abduction and imposing curfew in the FATA, particularly Waziristan, after minor incidents in the region, which should be halted forthwith and all such actions should be taken after a thorough investigation.
The fifth demand of the protesters is that FATA should be cleared off mines immediately to avert further loss of life due to landmines.