Pashtun Tahafuz Movement
پښتون ژغورنې غورځنګ|
Pashtun Protection Movement
|Type||Human rights movement|
Protection and rights of Pashtuns
Mahsud Tahafuz Movement|
(From May 2014 until January 2018)
The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (Pashto: پښتون ژغورنې غورځنګ, Urdu: پشتون تحفظ تحریک; abbreviated PTM), or the Pashtun Protection Movement, formerly called the Mahsud Tahafuz Movement, is a social movement for Pashtun human rights, based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Pakistan. It originally started in May 2014 as the "Mahsud Tahafuz Movement" as an initiative for removing landmines from Waziristan (especially Mahsud land) and other parts of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas, affected by the war in North-West Pakistan.
The movement rose to prominence in January 2018 when it began a justice movement for Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was killed extrajudicially during a police encounter in Karachi that same month. After gaining popularity among the Pashtuns in January, its name was changed from the "Mahsud Tahafuz Movement" to the "Pashtun Tahafuz Movement" (Pashtun Protection Movement). The leader of the movement is Manzoor Pashteen, a human rights activist from South Waziristan.
Pashtun Long March
|Pashtun Long March|
|Part of the rights of Pashtuns|
January 26 - February 10, 2018 (march started from D.I. Khan, passed through Bannu, Kohat, Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan, and Swabi, and then reached Islamabad for the sit-in)|
March 2, 2018 (gathering in Mirali, North Waziristan)
March 9-11, 2018 (march started from D.I. Khan, passed through Zhob, followed by a gathering in Quetta)
April 8, 2018 (gathering in Peshawar)
April 22, 2018 (gathering in Lahore)
April 29, 2018 (gathering in Kabal, Swat)
May 13, 2018 (gathering in Karachi)
July 15, 2018 (gathering in D.I. Khan)
August 12, 2018 (gathering in Swabi)
|Location||Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi|
January - February, 2018
On January 26, 2018, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement organized a protest march starting from Dera Ismail Khan, passing through Lakki Marwat, Bannu, Karak, Kohat, and Darra Adam Khel, and reaching Peshawar on January 28. Then after passing through Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi, and Tarnol, the march reached Islamabad, where a sit-in called "All Pashtun National Jirga" was organized from February 1. The jirga condemned the murder of the Pashtun shopkeeper Naqeebullah Mehsud who was shot dead by police force in Karachi during an encounter, and the alleged state oppression against the Pashtuns. It asked the government to set up a judicial inquiry for Naqeebullah Mehsud, as well as for all the other Pashtuns murdered extrajudicially in police encounters. The jirga demanded to stop racial profiling of the Pashtuns in Pakistan, and to bring the Pashtun missing persons before the court of law, so that those who are innocent but held could be freed. The jirga also demanded Pakistan Army to guarantee that they will not abduct or open fire on innocents in the tribal areas, or use violence or collective punishment against entire villages and tribes, and that they will not impose the frequent curfews on the movement of locals even after minor incidents. Another demand was to remove all landminess planted in the tribal areas, which have resulted in many civilian casualties. The protesters said that since 2009, more than 35 people including children had been killed due to landmines in South Waziristan alone.
The sit-in in Islamabad ended on February 10, but the organizers of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement announced that they would reconvene the protest if their demands were not fulfilled by the government. Advisor to Prime Minister on political affairs, Engr. Amir Muqam appeared in front of the protesters with the hand-written agreement from the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that included three clauses, agreeing to apprehend Rao Anwar, speed-up the clearing of Mines in South Waziristan, an intermediate college establishment in name of Naqeebullah Mehsud, and promised to addressed "genuine gravencies" raised by Jirga members. Muqam also told the protestors, “the way you held the peaceful protest is really commendable and others should learn a lesson to record their protests this way. I’ll stand by you in trying times and you can come to discuss with me all of your legitimate issues anytime.”
April 8th gathering in Peshawar
There was a grand gathering of PTM in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on April 8, 2018. About 60,000 people came to the gathering to participate in the protest. Many of the protesters held photographs of their missing relatives, containing captions with names and the dates they disappeared. The main demands of PTM during the gathering were as follows:
- A truth and reconciliation commission must be established for all the people who are killed extrajudicially like Naqeebullah Mehsud in alleged fake encounters by the law enforcement agencies of Pakistan
- The missing persons who are imprisoned at unknown places must be tried in a court of law, and forced disappearances must be stopped
- Curfews, collective punishment, and torture of the locals in the Pashtun tribal areas (especially after a violent incident) must be stopped
- Landmines must be removed from the Pashtun tribal areas
Media blackout in Pakistan
Pakistan's mainstream television channels and media outlets are not reporting and covering the activities of the PTM. Their only medium to interact with the rest of Pakistan and to keep them updated is through social media. This further strengthens their narrative of being sidelined and ignored by the system.
On March 23, the PTM meeting was scheduled to be held in Peshawar University, but Deputy Commissioner Peshawar Islam Zeb, issued an order under section 144 CrPC, imposing ban on political meetings in University and satted any violation against the order shall be preceded against u/s 188 PPC and order will be exercised "for 30 days unless modified or withdrawn." Later the meeting was held in Baghi-e-Naran, Hayatabad with 200 person attending the gathering.
The movement's anthem is “Da Sanga Azadi Da?”, which means “What kind of freedom is this?”. Many Pashtun's have discovered their voice with this anthem and it encloses the various grievances they have from being caught between the militants and the military.
The Pashteen hat (also known as the Mazari hat) has become the most iconic symbol of the PTM, as Manzoor Pashteen regularly wears it at public rallies and events.
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