The Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) held a public gathering in Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, on Sunday.
According to details, the meeting was addressed by PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen, 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 Miranshah in vehicles from far and wide to attend the rally, carrying white and black flags.
Pakistani media has an unheralded ban on showing PTM rallies and press conferences, but photos, videos and news of the rally were widely shared on social media platforms.
Addressing the gathering, Manzoor Pashteen said that those who say that PTM is over, if they come here today, they will see PTM everywhere.
PTM leader Mohsin Dawar, in his speech said that this grand rally was a public referendum in which people were 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.
The PTM denies the allegations as “government propaganda.” The movement says that it believes in the peaceful struggle for civil rights enshrined in the Pakistani constitution. The organisation’s leaders say, those issuing treason certificates should reconsider their anti-citizen policies. Manzoor Pashteen once said about the movement that PTM is a civil movement, not a political party, and will continue to struggle for the rights of Pakhtuns.
PTM leaders have been under attack allegedly by Pakistani state institutions including army and intelligence agencies. This year in May, the PTM’s prominent leader Ali Wazir’s cousin Arif Wazir was shot in front of his home, who later succumbed to the injuries in Islamabad.
Earlier, in January, PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen was arrested from Peshawar, for making a speech in Dera Ismail Khan during which he allegedly 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 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 was stopped by police to enter Balochistan for several times.
The 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 situation. A conciliation commission should be set up as well.