After arriving at the jalsa venue following a 36-hour road trip across the country, Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen said on Sunday that he would not rest until former dictator General Pervaiz Musharaf, former Malir SSP Rao Anwar and TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan were dealt with in accordance with the law of the land for their crimes. Earlier, PTM leader Ali Wazir said, “Our struggle is for all the marginalised communities of Pakistan. We’re fighting the case of Pashtuns, Sindhis, Baloch, and Gilgitis.” With an ajrak on his shoulders, the PTM leader said that their struggle must not be given an ethnic colour, adding that they were fighting for the constitutional rule in the country. Earlier, social activist Jibran Nasir also addressed the rally. Referring to a social media campaign against PTM for allegedly not allowing a Pakistani flag to its gathering, Nasir said that the respect for national flag came from the sense of security that the flag brought for the citizens of the country. He said those raising the issue must consider the injustices endured by the Pashtun community of the country. “We should be thankful that they are continuing their struggle in a peaceful manner. That is because they are the heirs of Bacha Khan’s legacy,” he said. While activists and sympathisers of the movement had been enduring harassment and intimidation tactics ever since it started its ongoing series of gatherings, the Sunday’s jalsa in Karachi saw an unprecedented wave of repression, according to movement supporters and sympathisers. Many PTM activists were nominated in FIRs registered in the city, dozens were picked up and some PTM leaders reported that their telephones were taken away by security personnel without any legal grounds. After multiple requests by the PTM leaders, the authorities finally issued a ‘conditional permission’ for the rally on Saturday. The permission letter issued by the Karachi commissioner read, “the permission is liable to be cancelled any time without assigning any reasons or prior notice.” Also on Saturday, PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen was denied a seat in a Serene Air flight from Islamabad to Karachi despite his confirmed ticket a copy of which kept circulating on social media throughout the weekend. Later in the day, he was prevented by airport authorities from boarding a different plan from Lahore to Karachi, he shared through his Facebook post. Pashteen continued the journey to Karachi on road, and was reportedly stopped by security personnel at multiple locations. On Sunday evening, when the news of his detention in Hyderabad spread on social media, a large gathering had already assembled at the venue and speeches were underway. When the announcement of his arrest was made in the jalsa, the crowd suddenly got charged up and starting chanting PTM’s popular slogan ‘da sanga azadi da’ (what kind of freedom is this?). They were requested from the stage to stay put. “We won’t move from here until Manzoor is released,” said the speaker at the dais. ‘PTM is the last ray of hope’ Murad Khan Mehsud left his hometown of Sararogha and moved to in the economic hub of Pakistan in the early 1990s. Soon, he found an odd job in the city and started a family. His only son, Attaullah, born in the year 2000, joined his father as a wage labourer in his early teens. At age 15, Attaullah got picked up, and the family has yet to hear from him. Ever since the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) announced that it would hold a jalsa in Karachi as part of its ongoing series of gatherings across the country, Murad Khan had been waiting for the May 12 rally, the date later got changed to May 13 after two political parties announced to hold their rallies in the city that day. At the PTM rally on Sunday, Murad Khan was among the earliest to arrive at a ground in Sohrab Goth, the hometown of Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was killed in an extrajudicial encounter in January. Sitting on the ground on the first row, the bearded elderly citizen of Pakistan was wearing a Taqiyah cap on his head and carrying a placard with his son’s photo and a sentence in Urdu appealing the authorities to return his son. “My son was working as a labour. On February 19, 2015, he was returning home with his colleague on a motorbike, when they were picked up by unknown people. For many days, we had no idea where they went, but his colleague was released, he informed us that they were picked up by security personnel,” Mehsud told Daily Times. “PTM is my last hope to recover my son. Look at the people participating in this rally. The authorities have to listen to them and accept their demands. I am sure that my son will return soon,” said Mehsud, with a ray of hope in his eyes. Dozens of families of missing persons participated in the rally, held the ground adjacent to the Al Asif Square, a famous neighborhood in Sohrab Goth. Al Asif Square is an apartment building that dates back to 1980s. It has around 1,200 flats and has a huge market with around 700 to 800 shops and countless pushcart vendors on the ground floor. Despite rumors of threats to the PTM rally, a large number of women also came out to support the movement. There were also large number of families of Baloch and Sindhi missing persons as well as women activists from the Voice of Missing Persons and the Aurat March. Several families brought banners for the release of their loved ones and these banners were displayed at the rally. Even minor children were carrying banners with photos of those who went missing from their families. Hameeda Baloch, the sister of Sagheer Baloch, a second year Political Science Department student at University of Karachi who went missing from the campus on November 20, 2017, also spoke to the rally participants from a stage set up with shipping containers. With tears in her eyes, she said if her brother had done something wrong, he must be produced before the court. Saeed Khan, a participant, told Daily Times that it was a peaceful rally but lamented that there was complete blackout of the rally in the mainstream media, which showed that the media was not independent. “I ask journalists to come and join the rally for the independence,” said Khan. Pictures from the rally Published in Daily Times, May 14th 2018.