When the military operation was launched in Waziristan in 2003, its implications started telling its side effects. In 2005, the situation was if you had spoken against the Taliban your dead body would have been thrown away. And that too, beheaded. Your hands cut off. Your face defaced. Your ears severed. If someone used to dare speak against the military the same would have happened to you—your dead body would have been found dumped somewhere. When we used to study at home there used to be a gunshot and that was a signal four our leave (chutti).
Manzoor Pashteen narrates in LUMS how did he start the Pashtun Protection Movement?
Once a minor girl took her goats for grazing that she was caught in firing. She ran for life at least for a kilometer or two but at last a bullet pierced her chest and she fell on the ground. And thus she was martyred. After that I decided to do something. The first thing was to become a member or the president of TSO. I was not a member of any political party, even I didn’t know the names of many political parties. I wanted to speak against the reign of terror, however, I was warned by all those familiar to me that avoid speaking for for rights lest you would be killed. Maulana Mirajuddin (Jamiyat F) was assassinated after he spoke in the parliament of Pakistan and condemned the atrocities. Yet despite that I was determined that something to be done. After that many said that Manzoor has lost his senses, he has become a psycho condition case as he is going to raise his voice against the atrocities.
My family members told me that you would be killed. We have no concern for you that you would be killed but because of you, we all would be killed. The Taliban and security forces used to live together in the same camp and outpost. One day a soldier got killed and in reaction the security forces took all the residents of the village out of their houses. They were brought to a plain field. They started torturing them. Among them was an epilepsy patient. He had mental health problem for the past eighteen years.
The father of that patient asked the soldiers not to torture his only son. He showed the medical reports, and said being their only son his mother loves him the most. He is 35 years old now yet his mother loves him as if he is still a child and out of that motherly love she takes him in her bosom and they sleep together. However he was tortured to the extent that he was eventually taken to a hospital where after three days he succumbed to the torture.
When we started protests and condemning the atrocities, a colonel summoned me and told me that the Pashtuns are very much brave people, they have sacrificed a lot for Pakistan and bla bla bla…and asked me to stop agitations as it will undermine the morale of the army. I responded that how weird is this morale when we speak up for our human rights their morale is undermined and when they suppress us and torture us their morale is augmented. “When the meeting was over, and I wanted to depart, even I didn’t shake hand with the colonel”, Manzoor recalled.
I have seen the atrocities to this much extent that sometimes I think that if am I am watching them in dreams. I think they are not real. People have become psycho condition cases. They are victims of mental trauma.
I was nursing a dream of joining Pakistan army, nevertheless, when I saw that our very much own air force is raining bombs on us, why should I join such a force. (Manzoor Pashtun in LUMS Lahore)
By Roohullah Zareer
THE PASHTUN TIMES