By Muhammad Salman Khan
I have to say, I am in love with Karachi. Never have I been able to see so many oppressed communities – Pashtuns, Balochs, Sindhis, Urdu speakers and Gilgitis – united against a common foe, an enemy that is so frightened to its core that it is afraid to even see a simple protest to happen in the first place.
Around two hundred activists belonging to the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) were abducted over the past few weeks. Their mobiles were snatched, we see restrictions being placed on national media to even cover this movement and jammers were installed to block live social media coverage of this Jalsa (mass demonstration). PTM organizers had to travel by road as they were restricted to travel by air, we saw Manzoor Pasteen and other prominent members of this movement getting arrested by law enforcement agencies on every step of their journey in a bid to stop them from coming to Karachi.
All this was done only because PTM is a genuine ‘people’s movement’ that seeks accountability of state establishment against the disappearances of Pashtuns and other oppressed communities, who are also continuously targeted through extrajudicial killings. This movement is born out of oppression when the state oppresses its own people, they rise and they speak out against the tyrants who do so.
I see citizens of this very nation, these PTM activists being treated as ‘traitors’ only because their crime is that they seek justice, they seek return of their loved ones forcibly abducted and disappeared without a trace, they seek freedom from oppression and accountability of those who kill innocent humans like Naqeebullah Mehsud with impunity.
If this is why PTM and its charismatic leader Manzoor Pashteen are labelled as ‘traitors’, then I have to say I am a ‘traitor’ too. I am a ‘traitor’ because I stand against this system that oppresses, murders and abducts its own people. If we want this vicious cycle of injustice to end, we should call out these ‘tyrants’ and question the brutal human rights record of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan that has deteriorated over the decades and question these merchants of death who continue to oppress their own ‘people’.
Are these oppressed not your own, why do we treat them as if they are not, why deny them their rights and their freedom?
Are human rights irrelevant for those who run Pakistan, can a mad security state be run on the bloodshed of the innocent?
We ‘traitors’ demand our warlords to answer us why are they afraid to answer our simple demands, which are completely constitutional and seeks peace, justice and unity for all in this made believe federation called ‘Pakistan’. Like in the words of Manzoor Pasteen, “According to this very constitution, our first target would be Rao Anwar”.
I am a Karachi based journalist by profession and an activist by passion. I can be contacted at Twitter @ImGreenGuru