Afghan President Ghani Gets Behind #PashtunLongMarch in Pakistan

The ongoing Pashtun Long Protest in Pakistan against the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud — an aspiring model from Karachi – on claims of him being a Taliban militant found an ardent supporter in Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

In a series of tweets, Ghani voiced his support for the protest, which was joined in by thousands of ethnic Pashtuns from Pakistan’s tribal areas in Islamabad.

“The main purpose of which is to mobilise citizens against fundamentalism and terrorism in the region,” Ghani tweeted.

Naqueebullah Mehsud was kidnapped and killed in a fake encounter by former Malir SSP Rao Anwar on 13 January in Karachi.

Youths from Waziristan, many of whom are from Mehsud’s tribe, started a long march from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 26 January against the ongoing human rights violations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA) and State imposed terrorism and militarism.

They refused to budge from the sit-in protest until their demands for capital punishment for Anwar and his team for the fake encounter are met. They have also demanded investigations into extra-judicial killings of Pashtuns.

Farhad Ali, the vice chairman of Fata Youth Jirga told New York Times, “Thousands of young Pashtun boys have disappeared in the last decade and a half, picked up from their homes and universities and streets in the name of curbing militancy. We want all these young men to be produced before a court of law and concrete evidence presented that they have committed any crime.”

In a statement on WhatsApp, Anwar appeared to blame Pakistan’s ineffectual judicial system for his actions. He said, “Karachi, don’t forget the blasts. Karachi, don’t forget the targeted killings. If you take that into consideration, then you know that some of the work that should have been done by judges was done by officers like Rao Anwar.”

Following the outrage, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has already ordered the arrest of the fugitive police officer.

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