The Chief of Awami National Party, Asfandyar Wali Khan and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party head, Mahmood Khan Achakzai openly announced their parties support to the Pashtun long march in Islamabad. Following the extra judicial killing of Naqeeb Mahsood on 13 January in a fake police encounter in Karachi—capital city of Sindh province, Pashtuns—across the board started peaceful protests across the country, especially southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. On January 26 youth Waziristan started a long march from D.I. Khan—southern district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against the ongoing slow motion Pashtun genocide, human rights violations and enforced disappearances in FATA and state imposed militarism and terrorism. The long march was highly welcomed by Pashtuns in various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The protest has been changed into Pashtun Long March and sit-in continues in Islamabad since February 6. According to reports, the sit-in is composed on more than 10,000 Pashtuns, chanting slogans against state sponsored terrorism and said, “Terrorism is being imposed by the state of Pakistan,” adding “Pakistan and terrorists are the two sides of the same coin.”
ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali, PMAP Chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Jamiat ulema-e-Islam leader Maulana Fazal Rehman and Qomi Watan party leader Aftab Sherpao participated in the Pashtun Long March and addressed the protesters. All these parties expressed their full support to the protest and urged the government of Pakistan to abandon its project of terrorism and meet the demands of the protesters.
Addressing the protesters, Asfandyar Wali Khan asked the government to arrest the Rao Anwar—culprit of Naqeeb Mahsood killing and demanded a judicial commission to probe into extra judicial killings of Pashtuns in Karachi and other parts of that country, adding the masterminds behind the criminal activities of the police officer must be unmasked to trigger them into the court.
Asfandyar Wali Khan pledged his party support to the Pashtun Long March until the government meets the demands.
“Fate of FATA could only be decided by the people of FATA,” he said.
Moreover, Asfandyar Wali said he is an Afghan and would be, as prescribes in the documents of Pakistan, adding no one can change his origin and nationality.
“Maulan Fazal Rehman, Maulana Samiulhaq and Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and all the Pashtuns in Pakistan are Afghans,” he added.
In the meantime, Mahmood Khan Achakzai in his address to the protesters said Pashtuns have been facing state brutalities since long time and their rights were usurped. He said Pashtuns are peace-loving people, adding a number of Pashtuns in extremist and terrorist groups have been given training and support by the state of Pakistan.
“Pashtuns were in cold war against the former Soviet Union and currently security agencies of Pakistan have been engaged to utilize Pashtuns in war against Afghanistan and International community in Afghanistan,” Achakzai noted.
Achakzai further went on saying that the national and international terrorists have been provided havens by Pakistan on Pashtun soil, which could no more be tolerated.
He said Pashtuns in FATA can eliminate the entire terrorist network on their soil, if the state of Pakistan turns around its support to terrorist groups.
“Countless Pashtuns have been slaughtered by Pakistan’s security agencies for their vested interests, based on destabilizing Afghanistan and undermining US led war on terror,” Achakzai added.
He furthered time has arrived to confront pro-terror and anti-Pashtun policies of Pakistan in order to establish durable peace in Pashtun areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well, adding Pashtuns should be given right over their resources.
Achakzai said his party would continue its support to Pashtun Long March until the government meets the demands, adding clearing FATA from landmines, planted by Pakistan’s security forces, justice to Naqeeb Mahsood, eliminating terrorists on Pashtun soil, full stop to Pashtun Genocide and ongoing militarism and terrorism in the area are the conditions to be fulfilled by the government.
Moreover, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulan Fazal Rehman said Rao Anwar—the police should be presented before the court, instead of providing him safe haven in Islamabad by the security agencies.
He said extra judicial killing of Pashtuns are tolerable. Cases should be decided in court. Fazal Rehman also announced his party support to the protest.
In addition to that, Aftab Ahmed Khan Shepao—chief of Qomi Watan Party also visited the sit-in and addressed the protesters.
He said state brutalities against innocent Pashtuns and human rights violations in FATA must be stopped. He said Qomi Watan Party stands in strongest unity and solidarity with the Pashtun Long March.
Naqeeb Mahsood was declared innocent by an investigation team. Pashtuns in Pakistan, especially in FATA want the international community to take serious notice of slow motion Pashtun genocide, state sponsored terrorism and human rights violations in FATA and trigger Pakistan into the court of Justice. It’s time for the civilized world to change the Pashtun long march into Pashtun spring in order to reach the joint goals of peace and stability in the region.