Mohsin Dawar, a leading member of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) and Pakistani parliamentarian, termed the PTM rally in Bannu as a success, adding the participation of thousands of Pashtuns in the rally showed that Pashtuns want their rights and could not remain silent.
The PTM Bannu meeting was held on Sunday (January 12th) where PTM chief Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen, Mohsin Dawar, Ali Wazir and other members participated and addressed the mammoth gathering of oppressed Pashtuns. Despite total media blackout, suspension of internet service and arrests of PTM workers ‘Pashtun long march 2 Bannu’ remained top trend on Twitter in Pakistan throughout the day on January 5.
Mohsin Dawar said that since the start of the PTM, a number of issues faced by Pakhtun in Pakistan have been resolved. He elaborated that now cases of forced disappearances as well as violence in tribal districts has reduced and PTM is getting more attention. However, he added, When the pressure is reduced they (Security forces) will yet again resort to their old ways.
Talking to Radio Ashna, Dawar added that the Bannu meeting was according to their expectations. Other political parties have not organized such a huge gathering in the region. The PTM leader said that such a huge crowd shows that the government has to find out a solution of the issue instead of issuing threats as the people love this peaceful movement.
The PTM meeting was organized after several months as after the Khar Kamar tragedy, most of the workers were in jails or busy in court proceedings due to which they weren’t available to hold any mega gathering and PTM was limited to corner meetings.
Last year, Pakistan army spokesman warned that the “PTM time is up” after which on May 26, 2019, action was taken against PTM activists on a check post in Khar Kamar area of South Waziristan in which more 13 PTM workers were killed. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government announced compensation for the victims but the army accused PTM activists, led by Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, for attacking the army check post. They were kept in jails until an Anti Terrorism court recently released them.
After the Khar Kamar tragedy, PTM organized its first gathering in Bannu. Dawar said that Bannu was selected for the gathering as this city has high importance in Pashtuns nationalist movements as the resolution for Azad Pakhtunistan was also passed by the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement in Bannu district. Mohsin said that Bannu is also the Center of the Pakhtun nation. He also added that the gathering was organized in Bannu to remove the fears of Khar Kamar tragedy from the people’s minds.
Dawar said that government must accept PTM demands as all their demands are under the law and constitution of the country but since the ‘Jihad project’ wasn’t under the law, security institutions fear that they can be brought to court for their criminal acts and thus they aren’t ready to tolerate the Pakhtun rights movement.
“Our issues would automatically be resolved if they properly implement the constitution of Pakistan,” expressed Dawar. “We would continue our non-violent protests and would keep pressurizing the government to accept the PTMs’ demands.”