ABBOTTABAD – Hundreds of thousands of people from all age groups including women and children took to the streets to voice support in favour of Hazara province and to protest against the renaming of NWFP, as shutter down strike was observed across Hazara region on Sunday.
From minor children to elderly figures, huge numbers of Hazarawals as well as Pakhtuns showed up on Tehreek-e-Hazara’s call. Seemingly, enormous protest rallies and public gatherings were witnessed in all the five districts of Hazara including Abbottabad, Haripur, Mansehra, Batgram and Kohistan. Unlike the April 12 shutter down strike that had turned violent owing to the Government sponsored terrorism by Peshawar Police killing over a dozen youths, the Sunday’s protests were held in a peaceful atmosphere despite scorching heat and intense weather.
The people extended warm welcome to the six young supporters of Hazara cause who were critically injured in April 12 protests by Peshawar Police. They include Sardar Younus, Sardar Amjad, Sardar Manzoor-ur-Rehman, Amjad Tanoli, Muhammad Niaz and Muhammad Miskeen. Muhammad Niaz and Muhammad Miskeen were shot in the legs and were unable to walk properly. They used clutches to join Sunday’s protest amid emotionally charged atmosphere and resonating slogans of ‘Jiye Hazara’ ‘Aik he nara sooba Hazara’ and ‘Bun kay rahega sooba Hazara.’ Speaking on the occasion, all the six spirited supporters resolved to sacrifice their utmost for the cause of Hazara. “We have been shot in legs, chest and arms but we would not give up and keep contributing our part even if it costs us our lives.” Sardar Younus said, while addressing Abbottabad’s public gathering. The roads were cleared for traffic at 5 pm, one hour prior to the scheduled time to facilitate the return of over 2500 followers of Tableeghi Jama’at who were residents of different parts of Hazara and were returning back to their homes after attending a procession of the Jama’at held in Islamabad on Sunday.
Sardar Haider Zaman, Sardar Yaqoob, Sardar Sheraz Afzal, Sardar Shafqat, Mushtaq Ghani, Qalandar Lodhi, Naseer Jadoon, Azhar Jadoon and others lead protest rallies in Abbottabad, Gohar Ayub Khan, Umer Ayub Khan and Yousuf Ayub Khan organised processions in Haripur, Sardar Yousuf, Sardar Shah Jahan Yousuf and other leaders of Tehreek-e-Hazara arranged processions in Mansehra while Saleem Khan, Ayaz Khan and Zarbuland Khan organised mega rallies in Batgram and Kohistan.
Addressing huge public procession in Abbottabad, Quaid-e-Tehreek-Hazara Sardar Haider Zaman warned the provincial intelligence agencies “not to dance to the tune of Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti’s wishes” and said that death threats, financial bribes and other cunning tactics could not dissuade him and his supporters to back out from their demand of formation of Hazara province.
Sardar Haider Zaman said that he was receiving threats from the “touts of provincial regime and its intelligence servants.” “Firstly, they were trying to bribe us, having failed, they are now threatening us,” he alleged. Zaman paid homage to the injured supporters who joined the Sundays’ processions despite being critically injured. “They are brave sons of soil. How can such a lively public movement be suppressed by oppressive tactics?” he asked.
Central Organiser Hazara Action Committee, Sardar Sheraz Afaz said, “These people from 5 years old children to 80 years old elderly figures, stood there from 8 am to 5 pm, only to mark their participation for a noble cause. No one can dare stop this public movement.”
Sardar Yaqub, Central Leader Tehreek-e-Hazara said that the dialogue with ANP Government was not possible. “ANP Government has infringed our rights, there’s no question of talking to them, he added.” However, he hinted that deliberations for the formation of Hazara province could only be initiated with the Federal Government. “We have heard that Khurshid Shah has been appointed by the Federal Government to initiate dialogue with us, we are ready to talk to him on one-point agenda of formation of Hazara province. In this Tehreek, our Pakhtun brothers stand by our side, no one must even think of dividing us,” he added.
It is pertinent to mention that PML-N leaders also participated in the processions held in the different parts of the region.