ISLAMABAD: Notwithstanding, the timely action taken by Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has defuse temporarily the crisis produced by the hunger strike of Hazara human rights activists Jalila Haider and her colleagues in Quetta, the resistance by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is continued unabated.
General Bajwa has already termed PTM’s movement as ‘engineered conspiracy aimed destabilisation of FAT and other tribal areas. The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has offered to hold talks with the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), a group that campaigns for the rights of Pashtun people. The traditional jirga, or assembly, would be headed by the KP governor and include tribal elders from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas(FATA) and representatives from other districts in the province.
PTM activists on Friday said they are willing to talk to the government, but insist that the meeting must be held in the presence of “international guarantors,” in particular the UN since Pakistan is signatory to many international conventions on human rights.
Initial discussions were held on Wednesday at the residence of Al Hajj Shah Jee Gul, a member of National Assembly from the tribal Khyber Agency, said PTM leader Ali Wazir. PTM leaders will make a final decision about participating in the talks after mutual consultation, he added.
Gul said the meeting on Wednesday was a preliminary round of formal talks in which the PTM leadership was asked to put forward the names of their representatives and the government authorities with whom they wished to talk.
The primary demands of PTM include an end to the “extrajudicial killing” of Pashtuns, the removal of land mines from their territory, and the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate human-rights violations in the Pashtun belt.
The movement has been staging rallies across Pakistan that included the chanting of anti-state slogans, leading the administration to disallow their protests.“The fact that PTM has agreed to talks is also an achievement,” said Gul, adding that the government is now waiting for the group’s response. PTM is set to hold another protest rally in Swat on April 29, said group member Bilal Mehsud.
It will decide on a course of action regarding the talks with the government after that, he added. “The government authorities assured us that PTM can continue its activities but now when we are holding the Swatrally onApril 29, the administration is creating problems for us,” said Mehsud.
“Our workers who are posting banners and making arrangements for the rally are being harassed.” Bilal Bacha, another PTM member, said: “We made it very clear to the participants of the meeting [on the government’s side]that our elders from Quetta to Swat will take part in the upcoming talks[with the apex committee jirga].” Sana Ejaz, also member of PTM, said formal talks with the apex committee are likely to begin soon. However, she reiterated that they must be held in presence of “international guarantors.” “It would be unjust if we are told to pack up and later our demands are not met,” she added. The United Nations in particular could be a guarantor, she said, given Pakistan has signed a number of UN treaties and the global body is also responsible for protecting human rights around the world.
Ejaz also called for the removal of land mines from FATA, along with an end to the ethnic profiling of Pashtuns in major urban centers, the return of missing persons, and the punishment of Karachi police officer Rao Anwar, who was involved in the killing of Pashtun Naqeebullah Mehsud. “Going by police investigations, Anwar has killed 440 people in fake police encounters,” she said. “Also, it is not possible to release all missing people since the authorities have admitted that nearly 4,000 of them were handed over to foreign governments under the Musharraf regime alone.” She also pointed out that security forces sometimes imposed emergency curfews in some areas, mostly in FATA, for indefinite periods, and that PTM wants an end to this. KP government spokesman, and member of its provincial assembly, Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said the administration would consider all genuine demands from the movement.
However, he added that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government fully supported the Pakistani Army. “Our soldiers have given their lives and sacrificed a great deal to restore peace in KP and FATA,” he said. “The army should not be criticized.”Yousafzai added that much of the rest of what the group is asking for could be debated and accepted. “Now that peace has returned to the region, it’s not wise to disturb it through protest movements. Yes, there can be talks on the issues and genuine demands can be met,” he said. The civilian and military leadership is taking a keen interest in addressing the PTM grievances.
The military has announced it will hand over most of the checkpoints in FATA to the civilian authorities. Officials also maintain that 64 percent of the process to remove land mines from FATA has been completed. Countrywide blockade The family of Naqeebullah Mahsud who was killed in an alleged encounter with police has warned that if Rao Anwar was not presented in the court hand cuffed on the next hearing then they will block the whole country. It further said that Rao Anwar is not ill. The family staged a protest outside theAntiTerrorismCourt in Karachi and shouted slogans against Rao Anwar. It demanded to bring Rao Anwar before the court. On the last appearance he was happy. It said that they are hopeful from the court of Allah. CJP’s remarks Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has remarked “ are Hazaras not citizens of Pakistan. He further remarked “I have met Hazara community. Hazaras are scared therefore, they are not filing petition in Supreme Court (SC).
The killers of Hazaras are holding public meetings openly. Students from Hazara community don’t get admission in university and they cannot go to school and hospital. CJP gave these remarks while taking suo motu notice of target killing of Hazara community.
The CJP will conduct hearing ofsuo motu notice of Hazaras target killing in Quetta on May 11. Under this suo motu notice, the CJP has summoned detailed report from all law enforcement agencies. Army chief’s action After a meeting with Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday night, the leaders of the Shia Hazara community agreed to call off their protest over the recent spate of targeted killings in the city. Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and others had reached the Quetta Press Club to ask the Hazara women to end their hunger strike when this report was filed by 2am. Gen Bajwa arrived in the city late Tuesday evening and held a meeting with representatives of the Hazara community that has been hit badly by incidents of targeted killing in the city. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, a delegation of notables of the community held a meeting with the army chief and Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who also arrived in Quetta on Tuesday evening. Mr Iqbal had reached Quetta on Monday to persuade Hazara community leaders to call off their protest over the recent spate of targeted killings but they had refused to do so unless Gen Bajwa held a meeting with them. Chief Minister Bizenjo, Commander of Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Home Minister Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, Inspector General of Frontier Corps Maj Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum and IG of Balochistan police Moazzam Jah Ansari were also present in the meeting between the army chief and the Hazara community elders.
Officials briefed the army chief and the interior minister on the security situation in Quetta and steps taken by the provincial government and law enforcement agencies after the recent wave of target killings in Quetta. Earlier, the Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) wrote a letter to Gen Bajwa, asking him to play his role for stopping the targeted killings of Shia Hazara community’s members in Balochistan. The letter, sent by MWM general secretary Allama Nasir Abbas, said the organized sectarian cleansing of Hazara people was going on in Balochistan and there was a need to stop it without further delay.
It further said that Christians and members of other minority communities in the province were also becoming victims of terrorist attacks. He alleged that terrorists openly claimed that they were involved in the killing of Hazaras, but action was not being taken against them.
Security meeting Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired a meeting of National Security Council in Islamabad on Wednesday and reviewed the overall situation of the country. Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, all heads of Army, Air Force and Navy, National security Advisor, ISI Chief, other senior military officers and some federal ministers attended the meeting. According to sources, Gen Bajwa briefed the meeting about his talks with Hazara tribe leaders and hunger striker Jalila Haider in Quetta on Tuesday night. He was satisfied with the development that helped in ending the protest.