A group of prominent Pakistani dissidents on Monday condemned the excessive use of force by the Pakistani military at unarmed protestors of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) in North Waziristan.
A statement issued by the South Asians Against Terrorism and for Human Rights or SAATH Forum noted: “The loss of three lives and several others injured in firing carried out by the military soldiers reflects utter disregard for human life, dignity and law. We call upon the government to conduct an independent investigation into this sad and unfortunate incident and immediately release all arrested individuals belonging to PTM, including the member of parliament Ali Wazir, who was reportedly taken into custody following the attack on the PTM protestors.” It called upon Imran Khan’s civilian government to rein in the military, stop this abuse of power, and address the grievances of the affected Pashtun population that has been victim of state and non-state violence since 9/11.
According to the SAATH Steering Committee members, the “situation on ground remains volatile, and therefore we call on Islamabad to show restraint and not repeat history when we witnessed authoritarian military controlled regimes causing irreversible damages to the unity of Pakistan.” They also urged the Pakistani media to act independently and provide a voice and platform to PTM instead of censoring them and being partisan.
The statement was signed, among others, by Pakistan’s former envoy to the US Husain Haqqani, columnists Dr Mohammed Taqi, Marvi Sirmed, Gul Bukhari, Taha Siddiqui, former MP Farahnaz Ispahani, and academics Dr Asim Yusufzai and Nabila Kiani.