PTM Gears Up For ‘Historic’ Rally In Peshawar
Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM)’s activists and supporters have kicked off the mobilization campaign for their upcoming rally which will be held in Peshawar on Sunday. The young and enthusiast volunteers are excited to take up the responsibilities of public engagement and other duties delegated by the core committee.
“Our message is one of non-violence and we want to mobilize and reach out to more people who have been affected by the war on terror”, said a PTM supporter Haris Khan. He added that they have seen a newfound awareness among the Pashtun people about their rights and the state’s duties towards them, which is a good sign for the future of the movement.
He, however, lamented that the government has adopted a violent approach towards them despite the movement’s message of non-violence and many of their workers and supporters have been arrested ahead of the rally. But he is hopeful that the rally would be historic and the show of strength would encourage all marginalized and oppressed groups to raise their voices for justice.
In February, PTM core committee member Professor Arman Loni was brutally killed during a PTM protest in Loralai, Balochistan, allegedly at the hands of the police. The Peshawar rally is being held to protest the lack of progress in the investigation into his murder. The authorities are yet to register an FIR against Loni’s killing.
Haris Khan says Warranga Loni, the sister of the slain activist, wanted the protest to be held in Peshawar as it is a centre of Pashtun community in the country.
The killing of Arman Loni was also condemned by global watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Both the organizations had called on the state to transparently investigate the murder.
Hamid Wazir, another young leader of the PTM, says he has seen PTM gaining popularity among the masses over time, adding that the volunteers are now warmly welcomed by the public who chant pro-PTM slogans during their mobilization campaigns.
He further said that the people now think of the PTM as the defender of the human rights of the Pashtun community.
Talking about the involvement of women activists in the campaign, he said many women workers of the PTM like activist Sanna Ejaz have been taking active part in the campaign. “Even in the outskirts of Peshawar, the women members of PTM have launched door-to-door campaign to reach out to more women and invite them to the rally.”
Another member of PTM Abdul Waheed Mehsud, who is from Waziristan said this time the mobilization is not confined within the city of Peshawar. “Responsibilities have been assigned to hundreds of supporters in different districts of KP to distribute the pamphlets and invite the people to join the protest in Peshawar”, he said.
He added that the volunteers went to schools, markets, homes and even to the religious seminaries to invite people from different walks of life to join the protest.
Other than mobilization on ground, the PTM has also been campaigning on social media. Several activists from around the world have endorsed and supported the call for protest.
MNA Mohsin Dawar tweeted, “We have organized a protest against the killing of Arman Loni and we invite you all to take part in this peaceful protest and ask for your basic rights.”
This would be PTM’s second big protest in Peshawar. The first one took place a year ago and was a success in terms of numbers.