Pashtun protestors have ended their sit-in demonstration outside the National Press Club in Islamabad after receiving a written assurance from Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that their demands would be met within one month.
The protest was sparked by the death of a young shopkeeper in a gunfight with Karachi police last month. Thousands of Pashtuns, living in the tribal belt, rallied against the move, seeking justice and an end to the oppression against them.
The rally lasted for almost two weeks. The shopkeeper, Naqeebullah Mehsud, was accused of having links with terrorist groups but later, an investigation found no evidence against him.
This caused the massive protests which started from North Waziristan and continued through to Islamabad.
Protesters remained adamant and only wrapped up their demonstration after receiving Abbasi’s assurances. A five-point agreement was also signed between government and the protesters.
The agreement reads as follows:
1. Naqeebullah Mehsud is the son of the whole nation, this is our duty to apprehend accused Rao Anwar (the shooter) as early as possible and bring him to justice.
2. Regarding mines in South Waziristan, the concerned quarters would be directed to speed up the process of clearing of mines. The prime minister also directed the KP governor that compensation should be paid to victims of mines either (who) died or injured.
3. The prime minister announced that an intermediate college will be established in the name of Naqeebullah Mehsud in village Makeen, South Waziristan.
4. The prime minister also said that genuine grievances raised by Jirga members from different quarters would also be addressed as soon as possible.
5. The Jirga members thanked the prime minister and other members from the government side. They announced that they would immediately disperse after the assurance.
Following the assurance from the PM, the leader of the protest, Manzoor Pashteen, ended the sit in.
Pakistan Today reported Pashteen said Pashtuns were protesting for their legitimate demands and if government agreed to address these issues then there was no need to continue the sit-in.
However, he warned that if government tried to stall or conduct any other “untoward incident” in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) then the protesters would once again hold protests. He said the Pashtun community will not tolerate injustices anymore.
He also said Pashtuns are wrongly portrayed as violent people.
Manzoor said he hoped government would take serious steps to resolve their demands and said “they had also held positive meetings with high (ranking) military officials as well”.