IN THE NEWS: PAKHTUN DHARNA ENDS – FOR NOW (FEBRUARY 11, 2018)

Written by admin on Sunday, February 11th, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Pakhtun dharna ends — for now
SOURCE: Daily Times
Sunday, February 11, 2018
By REHMAT MEHSUD

* PM issues written assurances, promises to arrest Rao Anwar without delay
* Protestors give one month deadline for demands to be met

ISLAMABAD: The 10-day long sit-in by Pakhtun Qaumi Jirga eventually ended on Saturday after written assurances by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to meet all of their demands.

“The way you peacefully held the protest is really commendable and others should learn a lesson from you to record their protests. I’ll stand by you in trying times and you can come to discuss with me all of your legitimate issues anytime,” Amir Muqam, advisor to prime minister on political affairs, told protesters while reading out the written agreement. He said though he was a government representative but simultaneously he was the representative of Pakhtuns also. “Today you proved that you’re the peaceful people,” he remarked.

He reiterated that Pakhtun nation had rendered unprecedented sacrifices for the sake of the country. He said that the prime minister had directed the Sindh government and the quarters concerned to ensure arrest of Rao Anwar. “As per your requirements, the prime minister has given assurances in written for the resolution of your genuine demands,” he added.

The five points of the assurances given by the government are:

1. Naqeebullah Mehsud is the son of the whole nation and this is our duty to apprehend accused Rao Anwar as early as possible and bring him to justice.
2. Regarding mines in South Waziristan, the quarters concerned would be directed to speedup clearing of mines. The prime minister also directed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governor that compensation should be paid to the victims of mines who had either been killed or injured.
3. The prime minister announced that an intermediate college would be established in the name of Naqeebullah Mehsud at his village in Makeen, South Waziristan.
4. The prime minister said that genuine grievances raised by jirga members from different quarters would also be addressed as soon as possible.
5. The jirga members thanked prime minister and other members from government side. They announced that they would immediately disperse after the assurances by the prime minister.

Manzoor Pashteen, who headed the Pakhtun long march, in his emotional speech said that it was a positive development which would help remove deprivations among people of FATA. “This sit-in is being postponed after written assurances by the government. However, we will bounce back if our demands aren’t met within one month,” he warned.

He said the protesters could be given a call to gather anytime in case of any untoward incident takes place in FATA. “You, the nation and the entire world see that we have neither closed any road nor attacked any institution or abused anyone. Even a single flower pot is not broken during the 10-day-long protest,” he remarked.

Earlier on February 1, thousands of tribal people gathered in the federal capital, vowing to continue their sit-in till the arrest of former SSP Rao Anwar who is accused of killing a Waziristan man in Karachi in a staged police encounter on January 13. A number of members of National Assembly (MNAs) and Senators including Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Siraj-ul-Haq, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and other leaders including Fawad Chaudhry, Babar Awan, former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfand Yar Wali joined ‘Naqeeb Shaheed condolence camp’ to express solidarity with the protesters. The demonstrators were joined by thousands of people from DI Khan, Tank, Swabi, Mardan, Charsaddah, Dera Ghazi Khan, Peshawar, Bannu, North Waziristan and some districts of Balochistan who reached Islamabad after five days of travelling from their hometowns.

The charged demonstrators were chanting full-throated slogans: “Down with terrorists, hang Rao Anwar, we demand justice and stop extrajudicial killings of Pashtuns.” Pashteen said that he was optimistic that his demands would be fulfilled because they had held meetings with senior level officials and got written assurances.

 

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