WASHINGTON, D.C.

Today marks the first anniversary of Kharqamar Massacre that resulted in the death of at least 14 innocent citizens belonging to the Pashtun community. 24 people were also injured in this attack that targeted those gathered under the banner of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) who were holding a protest against the beating up a Pashtun women and illegal arrests of other residents of North Waziristan.

Videos which surfaced after the killings show how unarmed protestors were fired upon from behind as they passed a military check post. However, following the massacre, the Pakistani government accused PTM and its leaders of orchestrating the attack and wrongfully arrested its leadership, including members of the National Assembly (Pakistani parliament) Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, imprisoning them over terrorism charges for four months.

SAATH Forum strongly condemns these malicious charges against the PTM leadership and demands that all charges must be dropped against them. Also, to date, no credible inquiry has been held by the government of Pakistan into these killings. SAATH Forum therefore demands that Pakistani authorities set up an independent commission to investigate the Kharqamar massacre and hold the officials and soldiers accountable.

It is to be noted here that the attack on innocent protestors happened just a few weeks after a press conference by the then Director General of military’s media wing ISPR, General Asif Ghafoor, who threatened the PTM with dire consequences in this media talk.

SAATH Forum is also concerned over the renewed cases of target killings in the tribal belt along with reports of remilitarisation of erstwhile tribal areas. We demand that the integration process of ex-FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province be escalated and policing is handed over to the civilian government, so that the residents of the region can live without the constant fear of military brutality, that has become a norm.

In conclusion, SAATH Forum will like to honor the victims of the Kharqamar Massacre that included Sanaullah, Madaof Khan, Chrai, Ghani Khan, Gul Bari Khan, Bilal, Bakh Ullah, Niaz Bat Khan, Sadiq Khan, Bilawr Khan, Nasir, Behram Khan, Muhammad Saleem, and Rafiullah. We would also like to honor the survivors of the massacre that include Ahmad Kham, Aamel Khan, Qismatullah, Noor Ullah, Salim Ullah, Hakim Khan, Abdul Khaliq, Ajmali Khan, Hakeemullah, Hab Nawaz, Gulab Khan, Muhammed Noor Khan, Zahid Khan, Sher Ali Khan, Gul Naar Khan, Matiullah, Musa, Sanaullah, Mustafa, Nasir, Shehram Ullah, Daraz Khan, Ajmal Uddin and Amal Jan.