KARACHI: Protesters have paralysed roads around the border town of South Waziristan and blocked a main highway in a fourth day of action against the resuscitation of militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Attacks from Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who are ideologically affiliated with and politically backed by the Afghan Taliban, are increasing across Pakistan. In the last two weeks, intelligence operatives have been gunned down in Punjab, and a detention centre has been overtaken and officials held hostage in KP.
Residents of South Waziristan staged large-scale protests in the district and chanted slogans against a surge in terrorism in the former TTP strongholds.
The protests took place in the Rustam Bazaar neighbourhood of Wana. The protesters also included representatives of several political parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Awami National Party (ANP), National Democratic Movement (NDM), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP).
Additionally, civil society organisations, lawyers, traders and the general public also joined the rally to show their support.
In South Waziristan Wana, for the third day now, people of all schools of thought in the region r sitting on protest against insecurity. There is a simple demand to establish peace in our area, but the govt has not shown seriousness in this severe cold.#وانا__اولسي_پاڅون pic.twitter.com/2ueiNc5PO5
— Mir Kalam Wazir (@KalamWazir) January 8, 2023
The protesters carried banners and placards and demanded the government play its role in maintaining law and order in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly in the merged tribal districts.
They also chanted slogans against the spike in terrorism in the region, asking authorities to take action to improve the deteriorating law and order in the region.
Speaking to reporters after holding talks with the protesters, the assistant commissioner of Wana, Yasir Salman Kundi, said all the demands of the protesters were genuine. He added the district administration was trying to fulfil their demands under a 10-point agenda.
Kundi said that no effort would be spared for the restoration of peace.
South Waziristan has been protesting against terrorism and Talibanization for the last three days. Thousands of people are sitting in front of Wana Bazaar. Their simple demand peace. Federal and provincial governments, media, mainstream political parties are all silent. pic.twitter.com/0Pg1eGOIsO
— Ihtesham Afghan (@IhteshamAfghan) January 8, 2023
These protests come amid a surge in militancy across Pakistan after the Afghanistan-based militant group called off a ceasefire agreement with the government on November 28 and ordered its fighters to stage attacks across the country.
2022 ended with the deadliest month for Pakistan’s security personnel in over a decade, said an Islamabad-based think tank as it pointed to the emergence of TTP as the biggest threat to the country.
The intensifying attacks have inflamed tensions between Islamabad and the Afghan Taliban, who are longtime allies. In a reference to the Afghan Taliban, the political and military leadership on January 2 said no country would be allowed to harbour militants who carry out attacks against the nation.