Following the murder 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 started at least 10 days ago. Since then, they have been observing a sit-in protest.
During the past week, many emotional speakers talked about their grievances and urged the Pakistani government to act on their demands.
Naqeebullah Mehsud was accused of having links with terrorist groups. Later, an investigation found no evidence against him.
This caused the massive protests which started from the North Waziristan and continued through to Islamabad.
The protest is rarely reported by the Urdu language Pakistani media.
According an article in The Diplomat, the key demands of the protestors are:
Swift justice for Naqeebullah Mehsud as well as arresting and punishing the police officer who allegedly kidnapped and killed him;
Remove all the landmines from Waziristan and the rest of the tribal belt;
Produce all the so-called “missing persons,” who have allegedly been taken into custody by the state security agencies;
Remove the security check posts, where tribesmen have to prove their identity each time they enter their villages and towns;
And put an end to frequent curfews on the movement of locals in the name of security.
Afghanistan Times in a report on Wednesday said some Afghan activists and officials have backed the Pashtuns protest.
The report quotes the CEO of Afghanistan High Peace Council, Akram Khpulwak, as saying that the rally is critical for a lasting peace in the region.
Afghan diplomat in Washington Haroon Hakimi has tweeted that “awakening of tens of millions of Pashtuns is an important step for weakening the violence and bringing peace to both sides of the Durand Line and region. The world should support it”.
Former head of the National Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh also reacted to the protest.
“No country has ever benefited from protracted warfare. Pakistan thinks it can defy the odds and can benefit. Not anymore. The Pashtun uprising in Pakistan questions the very idea of Pakistan as a nation state. Since inception in 1947, the establishment's nightmare has been how to cope with Pashtun NO,” he tweeted on Wednesday.