Pashtuns protest against Pakistan army’s brutalities in Waziristan

New Delhi (NVI): Members and supporters of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) today held a peaceful protest march against Pakistan army’s atrocities in Waziristan region in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, amid a growing attack on the local population by the Pakistani forces.

The protesters, also including locals from the area, marched towards Razmak forte in Waziristan and staged a sit-in. The protest, however, was called off later as the senior PTM leaders reached an understanding with Pakistan armed forces to hold a jirga (a tribal council) on September 14 to discuss the security forces brutality in the region.

The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), or the Pashtun Protection Movement, is a social movement for Pashtun human rights, based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
It was launched in May 2014 and continues to demand justice for Pashtuns in Pakistan.

Just like in Balochistan, Pakistani forces are targetting innocent locals in the region on mere suspicion of belonging to rebel outfits. In Waziristan, people are often subjected to torture and brutal thrashing by the Pakistan army to coerce them into accepting that they have links with the Taliban or other terrorist outfits.

Apart from that, residents in Waziristan still prove their identity on check posts and face harassment by security forces. In June this year, a video had gone viral on social media, showing the brutal torture of the Pakistan army on civilians in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This had raised concerns over growing human rights violations in the region.

The video shows Pakistan Army personnel kicking a blindfolded man lying on ground. For several years now, the Pakistan army has launched operations in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where they target civilians, especially those who have been raising their voice against brutalities, torture and killings.

A large number of Pashtuns in Pakistan have accused the Imran Khan government of discrimination against them as they suffer from poverty, hunger and unemployment in the region. Many Pashtuns, like Baloch people, demand freedom from Pakistan.