Govt-backed jirga calls for restraint as police file 3 FIRs against PTM leaders in Karachi

The government-sponsored jirga of tribal elders and parliamentarians delegated to hold talks with Pashtun Trahaffuz Movement (PTM) called for restraint on Thursday after Sindh Police registered three cases against PTM leaders preparing for a rally in Karachi on May 13.

All three FIRs — registered at Bin Qasim, Shah Latif and Manghopir police stations, respectively — have the state as the complainant and include Sections 6, 7, 8 and 9 of Anti-Terrorism Act relating to terrorism and spread of sectarian hatred.

The FIRs state that the leaders of the PTM, including Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, spoke at meetings at directions of Manzoor Pashteen where speeches against the army, police and Rangers were made. They said that the leaders hurled serious allegations of corruption and aiding terrorism against personnel of the armed forces and blamed law enforcement agencies for extra-judicial killings of Pakhtuns.

Meanwhile, the jirga in Peshawar tasked with negotiations with the PTM said that it was in contact with the movement and expressed hope that positive results would come soon. The jirga, which includes Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shah Farman and MNA Shahji Gul Afridi, said they are scheduled to meet PTM leadership on May 16, therefore, anyone associated with the movement should not be troubled before the PTM gathering on May 13.

The PTM members are Pakistanis and should be allowed to hold their rally in Karachi within the ambit of the Constitution, the jirga requested.

Late last night, Dawar, who is in Karachi for preparations of the jalsa, alleged that Sindh Rangers were raiding and arresting workers and supporters of the PTM. Earlier, the PTM had warned of protests across the country and in front of Pakistani embassies across the globe if the arrests of PTM workers did not come to a halt.

The jirga comprises two elders each from every tribal agency, all tribal parliamentarians, a representative each of federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments and a leading figure from Malakand division.

The PTM — a movement for the rights of those affected by the war against militancy in the tribal areas, especially South Waziristan — has been agitating in different parts of the country against enforced disappearances, extrajudicial arrests and killings, as well as the mistreatment of the Pakhtun community.

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