Pashtuns wrap up sit-in after PM’s written assurance

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  • PM assures protesters that they reservations will be allayed within a period of one month 
  • Pashtun sit-in’s organisers agree to leave after the assurance that landmines will be removed from FATA and victims will be given compensation 

ISLAMABAD: The organisers of the Pashtun sit-in on Saturday agreed to wrap up the protest after receiving a written assurance from Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that their reservations will be allayed within a period of one month.

The participants—who remained pitched outside the National Press Club, Islamabad—had vowed not to budge unless their demands, including penalisation of Rao Anwar, recovery of FATA’s missing persons, probe into extra-judicial killings of Pashtuns all over the country, removal of landmines from FATA region, and end to discrimination meted out to tribal people, were met.

After assurances from the PM and a signing of an agreement with the government, the sit-in culminated when Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) KP chief Amir Muqam visited venue with a written assurance from the PM.

FIVE POINTS AGREEMENT:

A five-point agreement was also signed between the government and the protesters, which reads:

  1. Naqeebullah Mehsud is the son of the whole nation, 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 concerned quarters would be directed to speed up the process of clearing of mines. The prime minister also directed the KP governor that compensation should be paid to victims of mines either died or injured.
  3. The prime minister announced that an intermediate college will be established in the name of Naqeebullah Mehsud in village Makeen, South Waziristan.
  4. The prime minister also said that genuine grievances raised by Jirga members from different quarters would also be addressed as soon as possible.
  5. The Jirga members thanked the prime minister and other members from the government side. They announced that they would immediately disperse after the assurance.

Following the assurance from the PM, the leader of the sit-in, Manzoor Pashteen, announced that the organisers of the sit-in have agreed to end the 10-day long protest.

He said that the Pashtuns were protesting for their legitimate demands and if the government had agreed to address these issues then there was no need to continue the sit-in. However, he warned that if the government tried to stall or any other untoward incident occurred in FATA then the protesters will resort to the holding of another protest, as the Pashtun community won’t tolerate injustices anymore.

He also called out the majority of Pakistanis who stereotype Pashtuns as a violent ethnic group, saying that the Pashtuns are wrongly portrayed as violent people and added the over week-long sit-in remained peaceful despite all odds.

Manzoor hoped that the government would take serious steps for resolution of their genuine demands, adding that “they had also held positive meetings with high military officials as well”.

Addressing the protesters, Muqam said the Pashtuns proved that they are a peaceful nation by holding such a peaceful protest in the capital which is also a lesson for others.

“I will stand by you all the time and my door is open and you can approach me anytime for your problems,” he said.

Acknowledging the services of Pashtuns to the country, the provincial president of the PML-N said that Pashtuns have rendered matchless sacrifices for the country and the government will leave no stone unturned to ensure the arrest of Rao Anwar.

“The prime minister has directed the Sindh government for the early arrest of the fugitive ex-SSP Rao Anwar,” Muqam assured the participants of the sit-in.

It is pertinent to mention here that thousands of tribal people reached the federal capital on February 1, seeking justice for Naqeeb killed by SSP Rao Anwar in Karachi in a staged police encounter on January 13. The protestors presented a five-point charter of demands and vowed that they would not budge an inch till the concerned authorities took tangible steps for resolution of their problems.

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.

 

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