SWABI: Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen said on Sunday that they would strive to help the Pakhtuns to get their rights that are enshrined in the Constitution.
He was addressing a public meeting at the Government High School playground in Swabi town on the anniversary of the 1948 firing incident in Babarra in Hashtnagar, Charsadda when Khudai Khimatgar Movement members protesting peacefully were fired at by the police and massacred.
The gathering was attended by PTM central, provincial and district leaders. Manzoor Pashteen said that Pakistan gained independence in 1947, but Pakhtuns across the country have remained in chains and were facing one crisis after the other. "We are striving to remove the sense of deprivation among the Pakhtuns," he remarked.
He said that after holding public meetings in the Pakhtun-inhabited areas, the PTM leadership had decided to hold gatherings in other parts of the country to seek the support of the people. The PTM leader claimed that the natural resources of the Pakhtuns had been seized. "This is not acceptable to us and this practice should stop," he stressed.
He said the discriminatory attitude towards the Pakhtuns should be given up immediately. He argued that the Pakhtuns had the right to hold peaceful protests to seek the attention of the authorities to give them their due rights.
He pointed out that Tarbela Dam and Ghazi Barotha dam had been constructed in Swabi district, but still the people had to face long hours of electricity loadshedding. He demanded that the people of Swabi should be provided uninterrupted power supply.
He recalled that Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate was established to provide alternative source of livelihood to the farmers cultivating opium poppy, but the incentives were withdrawn by government.
He spoke in detail about the local issues and the problems of tobacco growers. He said that tobacco was produced in Swabi, but the federal government reaped its benefits. Manzoor Pashteen said the entire world admitted the sacrifices of the Pakhtuns for the restoration of peace, but Punjab was not ready to give them their rights.
He alleged that members of the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement were killed in Babarra on August 12, adding the Pakhtuns were still being massacred. The PTM leader said that they would continue to encourage and mobilize the Pakhtuns to rise up against injustice through peaceful means. He said no effort would be spared to unite the Pakhtuns.
He said the Pakhtuns would adopt peaceful means to get their rights. "Our struggle is based on justice, peace and brotherhood. We will not accept the victimisation of the Pakhtuns," he declared.