Pashtun Tahafuz Movement

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Pashtun Tahafuz Movement
پښتون ژغورنې غورځنګ
Pashtun Protection Movement
Pashtun Tahafuz Movement Official logo.jpg
Abbreviation PTM
Formation 2014; 4 years ago (2014)
Type Human rights movement
Purpose Protection and rights of Pashtuns
Region served


Manzoor Pashteen
Formerly called
Mehsud Tahafuz Movement

The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (Pashto: پښتون ژغورنې غورځنګ‎, Urdu: پشتون تحفظ تحریک‎; abbreviated PTM), or the Pashtun Protection Movement, formerly called the Mehsud Tahafuz Movement, is a social movement for Pashtun human rights, based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, Pakistan. It originally started in 2014 as the "Mehsud Tahafuz Movement" as an initiative for removing land mines from Waziristan (especially the areas inhabited by the Mahsud tribes) and other parts of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas, affected by the war in North-West Pakistan.[1]

The movement rose to prominence in January 2018 when it began a justice movement for Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was killed extrajudicially during a police encounter in Karachi that same month.[2] After gaining popularity among the Pashtuns in January, its name was changed from the "Mehsud Tahafuz Movement" to the "Pashtun Tahafuz Movement" (Pashtun Protection Movement). The leader of the movement is Manzoor Pashteen, a human rights activist from South Waziristan.[3][4]

Pashtun Long March[edit]

Pashtun Long March
Part of the rights of Pashtuns
Date January 26 - February 10, 2018 (march started from D.I. Khan, passed through Bannu, Kohat, Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan, and Swabi, and then reached Islamabad for the sit-in)
March 2, 2018 (gathering in Mirali, North Waziristan)
March 9-11, 2018 (march started from D.I. Khan, passed through Zhob, and reached Quetta for the gathering)
April 8, 2018 (gathering in Peshawar)
April 22, 2018 (gathering in Lahore)
April 29, 2018 (gathering in Kabal, Swat)
May 13, 2018 (gathering in Karachi)
July 15, 2018 (gathering in D.I. Khan)
August 12, 2018 (gathering in Swabi)[5]
Location Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi
Caused by
  • Equal rights for the people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and northern Balochistan[8]
Resulted in
  • Promised to apprehend Rao Anwar and justice to Naqeebullah Mehsud murder
  • Assured the speedup cleaning of mines in South Waziristan and compensation to victims of mines died or injured
  • Establishment of intermediate college named after Naqeebullah Mehsud in Makeen
  • Action against all the complaints and concerns raised by Jirga and PTM
  • Ended in February, started again in March with a long march from Dera Ismail Khan to Quetta on March 9-11, and a grand gathering in Peshawar on April 8
Lead figures
Estimated 10,000 in the final sit-in at Islamabad
Estimated 60,000 in the April 8th gathering at Peshawar[9]

January - February, 2018[edit]

On January 26, 2018, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement organized a protest march starting from Dera Ismail Khan, passing through Lakki Marwat, Bannu, Karak, Kohat, and Darra Adam Khel, and reaching Peshawar on January 28.[10] Then after passing through Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi, and Tarnol, the march reached Islamabad, where a sit-in called "All Pashtun National Jirga" was organized from February 1. The jirga condemned the murder of the Pashtun shopkeeper Naqeebullah Mehsud who was shot dead by police force in Karachi during an encounter, and the alleged state oppression against the Pashtuns.[11] It asked the government to set up a judicial inquiry for Naqeebullah Mehsud, as well as for all the other Pashtuns murdered extrajudicially in police encounters. The jirga demanded to stop racial profiling of the Pashtuns in Pakistan, and to bring the Pashtun missing persons before the court of law, so that those who are innocent but held could be freed.[12] The jirga also demanded Pakistan Army to guarantee that they will not abduct or open fire on innocents in the tribal areas, or use violence or collective punishment against entire villages and tribes, and that they will not impose the frequent curfews on the movement of locals even after minor incidents.[13] Another demand was to remove all land mines planted in the tribal areas, which have resulted in many civilian casualties. The protesters said that since 2009, more than 35 people including children had been killed due to land mines in South Waziristan alone.[14]

The sit-in in Islamabad ended on February 10, but the organizers of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement announced that they would reconvene the protest if their demands were not fulfilled by the government.[15] Advisor to Prime Minister on political affairs, Engr. Amir Muqam appeared in front of the protesters with the hand-written agreement from the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that included three clauses, agreeing to apprehend Rao Anwar, speed-up the clearing of Mines in South Waziristan, an intermediate college establishment in name of Naqeebullah Mehsud, and promised to addressed "genuine gravencies" raised by Jirga members.[16] Muqam also told the protestors, “the way you held the peaceful protest is really commendable and others should learn a lesson to record their protests this way. I’ll stand by you in trying times and you can come to discuss with me all of your legitimate issues anytime.”[16]

April 8th gathering in Peshawar[edit]

There was grand gathering of PTM in the center of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar on 8th April, 2018. More than 60 thousand people joined the protest. Their main demands are as follows

  • Abolition of Frontier Crimes Regulation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
  • Release of the missing persons and stopping extra judicial killings. If they have committed any crime, they should be tried in a court of law[17]
  • Stopping humiliation at security checkpoints
  • Stopping harassing of Pashtun families on the pretext of search operations[18]
  • Removal of landmines in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
  • Release of all the political prisoners and also those arrested under the collective responsibility clauses and other similar charges[19]

Media blackout in Pakistan[edit]

Pakistan's mainstream television channels and media outlets are not reporting and covering the activities of the PTM. Their only medium to interact with the rest of Pakistan and to keep them updated is through social media. This further strengthens their narrative of being sidelined and ignored by the system.[20]

On March 23, the PTM meeting was scheduled to be held in Peshawar University, but Deputy Commissioner Peshawar Islam Zeb, issued an order under section 144 CrPC, imposing ban on political meetings in University and satted any violation against the order shall be preceded against u/s 188 PPC and order will be exercised "for 30 days unless modified or withdrawn."[21] Later the meeting was held in Baghi-e-Naran, Hayatabad with 200 person attending the gathering.[21]

The movement's anthem is “Da Sanga Azadi Da?”, which means “What kind of freedom is this?”. Many Pashtun's have discovered their voice with this anthem and it encloses the various grievances they have from being caught between the militants and the military.[22][23]

Pashteen hat[edit]

The Pashteen hat (also known as the Mazari hat) has become the most iconic symbol of the PTM, as Manzoor Pashteen regularly wears it at public rallies and events.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "د پښتنو منظور پښتون له کومه راغی؟". BBC Pashto (in Pashto). 2018-03-11. Retrieved 2018-03-12. 
  2. ^ "Young Pashtuns have shown the mirror to 'mainstream' Pakistan". Daily Times. 2018-02-11. Retrieved 2018-02-12. 
  3. ^ "Manzoor Pashteen: The voice of Pashtuns for many in Pakistan". 
  4. ^ "د پښتنو د پاڅون مشر منظور پښتون څوک دی؟". VOA Deewa (in Pashto). 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2018-02-13. 
  5. ^ Pashteen vows to continue struggle for Pakhtun rights. Dawn. August 13, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Caught Between The Military And Militants, Pakistan's Pashtuns Fight For Rights". Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  7. ^ (, Deutsche Welle. "Pashtuns rise up against war, Taliban and Pakistani military | DW | 09.04.2018". DW.COM. Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  8. ^ "What is Pashtun Tahafuz Movement and what are its objectives? - Global Village Space". Global Village Space. 2018-04-09. Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  9. ^ "Some 60,000 Pakistanis Rally In Peshawar For Rights Of Ethnic Pashtuns". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  10. ^ "Long march against Naqeeb killing reaches Peshawar". Daily Times. 2018-01-29. Retrieved 2018-02-07. 
  11. ^ "Pashtun Tribes Stage Unprecedented Protest in Pakistan". The Diplomat. 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2018-02-08. 
  12. ^ "Decades of suffering leave the Pashtun youth angry". The Week. 2018-02-06. Retrieved 2018-02-07. 
  13. ^ "3rd day of Pashtun sit-in: Protesters refuse to budge till acceptance of demands". Pakistan Today. 2018-02-03. Retrieved 2018-02-08. 
  14. ^ "In Pakistan, Long-Suffering Pashtuns Find Their Voice". The New York Times. 2018-02-06. Retrieved 2018-02-08. 
  15. ^ "Pashtuns End Protest in Islamabad, Vow to Reconvene if Demands Not Met". Voice of America. 2018-02-10. Retrieved 2018-02-11. 
  16. ^ a b "Pashtun Dharna conditionally ends after PM's assurances - Daily Times". Daily Times. 2018-02-10. Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  17. ^ "Manzoor Pashteen: Our protest is non-violent and constitutional". Retrieved 2018-04-28. 
  18. ^ Pakistan's Manzoor Pashteen: 'Pashtuns are fed up with war',, 2018-04-11.
  19. ^ "Public meeting in Mir Ali: Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement demands removal of checkpoints in NWA". The News. 2018-03-03. Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  20. ^ "Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement". The Nation. 2018-04-09. Retrieved 2018-04-10. 
  21. ^ a b "Section 144: Pashtun Tahafuz Movement barred from campuses - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2018-03-29. Retrieved 2018-04-11. 
  22. ^ Khan, Ghulam Qadir (2018-04-03). "Pakhtun renaissance". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2018-05-07. 
  23. ^ Khan, M. Ilyas (2018-04-23). "The young tribesman rattling Pakistan's army". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-05-07. 
  24. ^ Alikozai, Hasib Danish (6 April 2018). "Hats Proliferate as Symbol of Pashtun Protest Movement". Voice of America. Retrieved 16 May 2018.