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The PTM in Pakistan: Another Bangladesh in the making?

47 727 21872
13.01.2019

A year ago today, a young man named Naqeebullah Mehsud was killed in an alleged shoot-out in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi. The police initially claimed that Mehsud was a "hardened member of the Pakistani Taliban" and was killed during a raid on "a terrorist hideout".

But his family, friends and some human rights organisations questioned this claim, saying Mehsud was just an innocent shopkeeper and aspiring model.

The government ordered an investigation. The police committee probing the incident found no evidence of a shoot-out or terrorist activity and was determined that Mehsud was killed by the police in a "fake encounter" - a practice Pakistani security forces are often accused of being involved in. Officers accused of being involved in the killing were put on trial which is still ongoing.

In the past, allegations of extrajudicial killings similar to this one were regularly ignored by the authorities, and security forces were allowed to operate with impunity. What set Mehsud's case apart, and forced the government to take swift action, was a little-known movement which started in his Waziristan hometown of Makin: the Pashtun Tahaffuz (Protection) Movement (or PTM).

The PTM was launched by human rights activist Manzoor Pashteen to address the many grievances of Pashtuns, who are the second largest ethnic group in Pakistan and mostly live in the north-western part of the country, close to the Afghanistan border.

The Pashtuns have been bearing the brunt of the so-called "war on terror" for nearly two decades. When the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan following the........

© Al Jazeera