Killings of Ethnic Pashtun Activists Spark Thousands to Protest in Pakistan

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Pakistani cities following the killings of three ethnic Pashtun activists.

Demonstrations were held in Peshawar, Swat, Dera Ismail Khan, Quetta, and towns in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces since May 26.

Witnesses say security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters that were denouncing military abuses. More than 20 people were reportedly wounded in the shooting.

Rights groups say the government has banned peaceful rallies organized by the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement.

The military said a group, led by two founders of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement civil rights group, attacked a security checkpoint. The military claims troops responded and killed three while wounding 10 others.

A curfew has been imposed in the town where the violence occurred.

The Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement’s support base is mostly among the Pashtun ethnic minority. Since its founding in early 2018, the group has organized regular protests across Pakistan to denounce the military’s heavy-handed operations in tribal areas.

The group has called for judicial investigations into the military killings and has campaigned for an end of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, and discrimination.



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