Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader and rights activist Manzoor Pashteen said in a press conference on Friday that the Pakistani security agencies had deliberately created an environment where they could arrest Ali Wazir — another PTM leader — on some made-up charges. He also blamed the security agencies for fuelling the tribal feuds in Waziristan.
Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement held a press conference in Islamabad National Press Club on Friday. PTM leader and founder Manzoor Pashteen, MNA Moshin Dawar and several other PTM leaders were in attendance.
Addressing the gathering, Manzoor Pashteen said that convicted felons like Rao Anwar roam freely in this country whereas peace advocates like Ali Wazir are imprisoned. He said that the court had adjourned its decision to grant bail to Ali Wazir, but the decision has not been announced. “This is tantamount to denying justice”, he said.
The PTM leader said that the judiciary is the supreme authority in any country. But when the people grow sick of the judicial system, the country is bound to collapse. He said that the PTM is ready to negotiate with the government, but only if the detained PTM activists are released. “You cannot place a sword on our throat and expect us to negotiate – these are not the rules of negotiation.”
He said that the colonels and majors of the Pakistani army rule Waziristan. They detain people and force them to confess to crimes that they have not committed. The authorities often boast of an ‘era of development, but tell them that in your ‘era of development’, the dead bodies of missing Pashtuns are found by dogs.
Manzoor Pashteen said that our ancestors have been through many ups and downs throughout their history, and we will persevere in the face of cruelty. “PTM will always raise its voice against state-sponsored terrorism”, he said.
He said that due to the fractious policies of the generals, this country has been ideologically divided. The Baloch are asking for an independent homeland; the majority of the Pashtun have lost faith in this country, and similar feelings pervade throughout Sindh and some areas of Punjab. “These are the consequences of the policies of the rulers of this country”, he said.
The PTM leader also chastised the media for its partiality, saying that they do not cover the tyranny inflicted on the Pashtun people. He said that if the media does not cover this press conference thoroughly, we will direct the PTM activists overseas to hold press conferences where their voices will be heard.
He said that the authorities must release political detainees and the court must announce its decision on granting bail to Ali Wazir. He added that the “reign of terrorists” must be toppled. If these demands are not met, PTM will have every right to set for a long March to Islamabad, he said.
Addressing the gathering, MNA Mohsin Dawar said that no matter how much this government opposes our narrative, the world is endorsing it – international rights groups have acknowledged in their annual reports that the Pashtun community in Pakistan is being systemically persecuted.