Inside Story

Pakistan’s Pashtuns rise up

Thousands demonstrate against alleged discriminatory policies and abuses suffered under pretext of ‘war on terrorism’.

In a rare public challenge to Pakistan‘s armed forces, thousands of protesters from the Pashtun community have demanded an end to what they say are decades of oppression.

Police cracked down on the latest demonstration in the northern city of Lahore, arresting several leaders of the Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM).

The PTM rose to prominence after the police shooting of a young social media star in Karachi in January.

The death of Naqeebullah Mehsud brought thousands onto the streets to urge an end to police impunity.

Ethnic Pashtuns say they have borne the brunt of the so-called “war on terror” in Pakistan, with thousands disappearing over the years or targeted in extrajudicial killings.

Military commanders accuse protest leaders of trying to destabilise Pakistan.

How will the government respond to the protesters’ demands? What does it mean for Pakistan’s domestic security policy?

Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault


Ayaz Wazir – former Pakistan ambassador to Afghanistan

Sajjad Khan – Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM)

Simbal Khan – security analyst