A Pakistani rights group representing ethnic Pashtun announced nationwide protests on Monday over the deaths of no fewer than three activists in clashes with the military in the country’s troubled tribal region.
“We will continue our non-violent constitutional struggle,’’ Manzoor Pashteen, a central leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement
(PTM), which emerged in 2018 after the killing of an ethnic Pashtun in the port city of Karachi, said.
According to Pashteen, PTM activists will protest across the country.
No fewer than three activists were killed and over a dozen others were wounded on Sunday in North Wazirstan, a semi-autonomous
region bordering Afghanistan, when soldiers opened fire on a PTM demonstration.
The army said a group, led by PTM leaders and members of parliament Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, “assaulted” the Kharqamar checkpoint.
Wazir was later arrested while Dawar is on the run.
The military said five soldiers were wounded in the exchange of fire and one died.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) called for a parliamentary commission to “inquire into the matter and establish the truth”.
In a statement, the commission also demanded the release of Wazir and other activists taken into custody.
Pashtuns live mainly in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in north-western Pakistan.
The area was once a stronghold of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, with many families suffering violent attacks.
The community has accused the government of not doing enough to protect them.