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January 14, 2020

Several political leaders willing to work for Pakhtuns’ rights


January 14, 2020

PESHAWAR: Leaders of various political parties have expressed their willingness to work with Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) for the protection of the rights of Pakhtuns.

PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen at a public rally in Bannu on Sunday announced the formation of a jirga to convince Pakhtun leaders to collectively work for Pakhtuns' rights.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan told The News that he had raised the problems being faced by Pakhtuns at the highest forum in the country.

"Pakhtuns rights are being violated at every level in Pakistan, adding that their undisputed rights provided in the Constitution were made disputed," he added.

He said that he had convened all parties' conference on January 29. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan also said that he had raised the issues of net hydel profit, gas and others. He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was denied the rights to use its gas resource, which had been ensured in article 158. "They are making their own interpretation of this article to deny our rights," he added.

He said the article says a province in which a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from that well-head. "We are ready to cooperate with anyone, including PTM, to protect the rights of Pakhtuns. The youth of PTM are sons of this soil. They are not the enemies of Pakistan," he said.

The JI leader said that if they seek cooperation on a matter related to the rights and welfare of Pakhtuns and the integrity of Pakistan, they would surely support them.

When asked whether he would cooperate with PTM on their demands, he said that he had already raised these issues in the Senate of Pakistan and would continue to take up such issues.

"I was the only person who had raised the Khaisor and Mohmand incidents," he said, adding their doors were open for them to start working on critical issues.

Sikandar Sherpao said that in principle, Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) was ready to sit with anyone who raised the issues being faced by Pashtuns.

QWP would work with anyone who wants to work for the rights of Pakhtuns but it depends on the issues. "It also depends on the methods of raising these issues. The framework should be discussed, and then a decision could be taken," he said.

He said that QWP can definitely talk on their genuine demands, adding that his party would be able to take a position when their demands come forward.

When asked on the prospects of working with a political entity that was engaged in non-parliamentary politics, he said it was their decision to remain non-parliamentary and added that cooperation was possible in a larger context.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Attaur Rehman said that they could respond on the possibility of cooperation after the PTM leaders present their demands. "The party leaders could take a decision on whether or not to work with PTM when we meet them and know their position," he added.

PTM held the public gathering in Bannu after a break of seven months and reiterated its demand of de-mining of the erstwhile Fata, end to enforced disappearances and constitution of truth and reconciliation commission.

Manzoor Pashteen, MNAs Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar, and MPA Mir Kalam Wazir were among the prominent speakers.

Manzoor Pashteen in his speech stressed the need for unity among the Pakhtun political leaders to end the suffering of Pakhtuns.

He said that PTM was not against any political party or leader, adding that Movement would continue efforts for the rights of Pakhtuns.

Mohsin Dawar said the gathering proved that PTM was alive and had strong roots among Pakhtuns.

PTM announced to hold the next rally in Quetta on February 2 to observe the death anniversary of Arman Lonri. Arman Lonri allegedly died during a police crackdown on a sit-in in Loralai last year.