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How the Government Tried to Sto...

How the Government Tried to Stop Manzoor Pashteen from Reaching PTM’s Rally in Karachi

Born in Sarwakai in 1992, the figure of Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen is a 26-year-old product of the US-led war on terror. Not only did he live in a country where the word “Taliban” was gaining momentum, he witnessed them first hand when they forced themselves into his home. Pashteen grew up in an environment where the Taliban dominated his surroundings and inflicted torture in a tacit and subtle manner. Anyone who mentioned them seemed to disappear not long after. Pashteen is a political activist demanding a renewal of justice and its implementation. He is a graduate in veterinary medicine, a compelling speaker and a warden of the racial group he represents. Pashteen has drawn a lot of attention from the Pashtuns of Waziristan and tribal areas. Manzoor Pashteen is the leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement found 4 years ago to protect the rights of his ethnic group at a national scale.

May 13th – The Series of Unfortunate Events Ensue

Several Pashtuns congregated at Sohrab Goth in Karachi on Sunday for the highly anticipated yet seldom documented by the media, PTM rally. Pashteen experienced several glitches merely to arrive at the venue of the march. All the while, other members of the PTM namely Ali Wazeer and Mohsin Dawar, awaited his arrival at the venue. Other members reached Sohrab Goth on Saturday evening. It was later learned that this particular venue was made available to Pashteen so long as he met specified conditions laid out by the authorities.

Phase 1

To begin his journey, Pashteen was initially denied the right to board a plane from Bahawalpur to Karachi. He was incarcerated first at Bahawalpur and de-boarded from a plane. Despite having bought a ticket on a private airline; his ticket was declared obsolete and was thus canceled.

At the same time, his partner activists Mohsin Dawar said Pashteen were denied the right to travel by air from Lahore to Karachi. Even though their boarding was delayed to make it appear as though they had “missed the flight.”

Phase 2

He was later arrested at Hyderabad in order to “protect him.” The irony of the action was palpable – considering the authorities demonstrated their right to protect him while he intended to raise concerns. He was even interrogated for being a foreign agent working in Pakistan to raise distress and gather information for RAW. Despite these glitches, Pashteen decided to brave through and continue his journey.

Phase 3

Upon his arrival to Lahore, Pashteen decided to get another air ticket and travel to Karachi by air. However, this time around no ticket was issued to him by any private airline.

Phase 4

Upon realizing what the authorities were intending to accomplish, Pashteen commenced his trip via road. He travelled for 20 hours by car to reach the rally where the crowd of more than fifteen thousand people eagerly awaited his arrival.

Phase 5

If you think that traveling by road meant no hiccups and a smooth ride, you are mistaken. Pashteen was repeatedly stopped by various police authorities and examined thoroughly by each. They hoped to delay and therefore, make impossible his arrival in Karachi in time for the rally.

#BreakingNews#ManzoorPashteen has entered Karachi. @mjdawar says “they” are still trying to stop him from joining #Pakhtunlongmarch2karachi but we are not moving inch unless he arrives.

Phase 6

However, dedication thy name is Manzoor Pashteen and that was evident when he arrived in Karachi as an overwhelmed and emotional crowd welcomed him. At this point, the authorities refused to provide electricity to the rally and that was when the power of the people was witnessed in the crowd.

#ManzoorPashteen: I promise you that we are not going to bow down. #PashtunLongMarch2Karachi

The tragedy is that not one local media station has given this rally its due share. However, the young activist has demonstrated that when it comes to the people he stands for, no obstacle is obstacle enough.

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An English Literature graduate with a passion for Psychology. An avid reader, writer, poet (self-proclaimed) and part-time fitness trainer. Currently working with NIC, Lahore. I spin words to make my narcissistic wit sound like diffident profundity. The above feels a lot like braggadocio, meh!

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