As Pakistan keeps knocking at the doors of international community complaining about temporary restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir by India, they themselves have done the same in their own territory. Yesterday restrictions under section 144 of Pakistan’s Criminal Procedure Code were imposed in North Waziristan Tribal District, the northern part of Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan. The restrictions will be in place for a month, an order issued by the district administration said.
During the period the restrictions under section 144 remain in force, no outsider will be allowed to enter the North Waziristan Tribal District, to ‘maintain law and order’. The order says that a ban on entry of non-locals in the district has been imposed. Non-local government employees and non-local labours attached with government contractors have been exempted from this ban.
Waziristan has been witnessing massive protests by Pashtun tribal groups against human rights violations by the Pakistani military. They allege that in the name of combating terrorism, the Pakistani military is indulging in atrocities against civilians in the tribal area. The protests are led by Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM).
In May this year, the conflict between the ethnic minority of the country and the army took a deadly turn when several civilians died during a massive confrontation. Although military claims they were attacked, the protest leaders claim the military had fired on non-violent protesters. Media could not verify the conflicting claims because the military had shut down telephone and internet service in the area and also had imposed a curfew. Following the clashes, several leaders from the area, including National Assembly members Moshin Dawar and Ali Wazir were arrested by the police.
Waziristan is a federally administered region in Pakistan where the Pashtuns have been challenging the state for a long time, some of them violently. In recent months military has intensified its efforts to control the movement, while the Pashtun leaders accuse the military of extra-judicial murders and other violations. Mobile telephone services were not allowed in the region for a long time, and it was restored only earlier this year.