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Editorial: Pashtun Long March—soon to bear result

The long suffering ethnic Pashtuns from Tribal Regions, called FATA, unfortunately were waiting for an opportunity to give vent to their grievances against Pakistan and state sponsored terrorism and their aspirations for complete independence. Finally, the extrajudicial killing of Naqeeb Mahsud—an aspiring model hailing from Waziristan in a fake police encounter in Karachi on 13 January triggered for launching a campaign to seek justice and freedom for Pashtuns in Pakistan. The protesters, including women sought justice for Naqeeb, compensation to victims of militarism and terrorism, ending harassment of tribal people, racial profiling of Pashtuns, clearing FATA of landmines and toy bombs—planted by Pakistan’s security forces. They demanded recovery of so-called missing persons and an end to enforced disappearances, state sponsored terrorism, and human rights violations. Activists chanted slogans against Pakistan sponsored terrorism and raised voices for independence. In a separate protest, Pashtuns in Khyber Agency asked Pakistan to withdraw its civil and military administration from FATA. In support to Pashtun Long March, Pashtuns/Afghans, including President Ashraf Ghani raised their voices and staged big demonstrations around the world and President Ghani termed it a wake-up call against state sponsored terrorism. Further unity and solidarity among the Afghans on both sides of the Durand Line needs to be nurtured and promoted. The Pashtun Long March should be supported, despite some questions over its end in a discouraging way. However, we should celebrate the achievements. At least the Pashtuns told the World that “Pashtuns, Afghanistan and the international community have been victims of Pakistan sponsored terrorism.” The Pashtun youth unmasked Pakistan’s military involvement behind the ongoing terrorism. Commenting into the meetings with Pakistani officials, Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen—the young leadership among others informed, “The DG ISPR and ISI admitted to the atrocities committed against the Pashtuns, but requested him not to insisted on putting to writing those admissions in the interests of “Mulk Ki Slamati and Fooj ki Badnami.” According to the leadership of Pashtun Long March the one month deadline to the government of Pakistan to meet the demands is neither an end nor a pause. During the time huge public gatherings would be organized in Quetta—capital city of Baluchistan, FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to mobilize the general masses against state sponsored terrorism—a commendable initiative in a bid to stage a decisive sit-in in Islamabad in coming days. Pashtun leadership in Pakistan should be a well-represented voice to the issues of Pashtuns and lead the nation on right track to defeat state sponsored terrorism and pull it out of slavery. There is a serious need to highlight and exploit all the factors behind the Pashtun Long March and change it into Afghan Long March. The Pashtun and Afghan Long Marches should be prolonged by expanding their demands list to make sure public crackdown against state sponsored terrorism by aligning people. Following the Pashtun Long March, public uprising by the Wazir and Mahsud tribes against “Good Taliban” in D.I.Khan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where Taliban’s offices and cars were set on fire was a positive sign. The President Ashraf Ghani idea of aligning people of the region against state sponsored terrorism must be materialized. Political and moral support to the suppressed nations in Pakistan is need of the hour. The Afghan government, political pressure groups and civil society should organize seminars and peaceful demonstrations inside the country and abroad to further unmask state sponsored terrorism and advocate the Afghan case. However, the first and second hand leadership of the concerned ministry for borders and tribal affairs is totally incompetent and non-committed to comply with the aspirations of Pashtuns on the other side of Durand Line. They raised voice, but it was late—still first drop of the rain is matter. President Ashraf Ghani should assign Akram Khpalwak—adviser to President on political affairs the responsibility of motivating, engaging and aligning people against terrorism and terror sponsor states. Keeping in view the burning hatred among the Afghan masses on both sides of the Durand Line against Pakistan and state sponsored terrorism, ball lends into the court of the international community. The ongoing suicidal policies, based on Pakistan’s lies and deceits must be reviewed and change into offensive strategies to trigger terror sponsored states into the court of justice aimed bringing durable peace and stability in the region. In solidarity with the Pashtun Long March, protesters here in Kabul urged the US led international community to dispatch human rights organizations and international media outlets to FATA, and install United Nations led administration in FATA and decide its fate under the umbrella of United Nations to win war on terror.


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