The PPP has done the needful. For over the weekend it intervened to have the notification withdrawn barring Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) Chairman Manzoor Pashteen from entering Sindh for a period of 90 days. The police recommended the ban. On the grounds that this would be in the public interest. After all, the PTM chief was already in Karachi and had been holding gatherings. He stands accused of inciting the citizenry against the state and law enforcement agents. Let that sink in for a moment. The leader of a peaceful movement for social justice who is asking for fundamental rights in accordance with the Constitution for the ethnic Pashtuns as well as other minorities, such as the Hazara, is turned into a national security risk.At play here are orchestrated moves to turn the prevailing narrative on its head. For in casting Pashteen as a threat — the state hopes to conveniently deflect from its own failure in fulfilling the group’s demands. The last government had agreed to do this. Thus the new political set-up should have actively pursued the path of positive resolution. And just in case the now ruling PTI has forgotten what these were, the PTM leader recorded a video outlining the group’s five demands; which went viral on social media over the weekend. To be sure, there was no inflammatory speech. Though there was dark sarcasm in certain places; which is understandable given how much this community has suffered and continues to do so. That being said, we here at Daily Times would advise Pashteen to refrain from singling out particular state representatives and making personal comments. If only because this will be used against the entire movement as reason to silence it. Already the PTM has been threatened with the use of force if it veers from the path of peace. Or words to that effect.The first demand is that former SSP Rao Anwar is brought to book. Indeed, allegations of his shooting Naqeebullah Mehsud, a young man originally from Waziristan, is what prompted the PTM to march on Islamabad close to a year ago; as they said with one voice, no more. To date Anwar is out on bail and free to travel within the country. The second relates to the establishment of a truth and reconciliation committee to address the practice of extra-judicial killings. Yet this is still pending. Pashteen considers it imperative to identifying perpetrators while garnering information about established agendas. The question of missing persons represents the third demand. Here, the PTM leader says that the focus needs to be on due process. That is, all suspects should be produced before the courts and that the latter enjoys exclusive jurisdiction in determining guilt and innocence. Anything less than this itself is unconstitutional. Ending the practice of collective retribution meted out to entire communities in the aftermath of terrorist incidents is the fourth demand. Yet Pashteen concludes that if the security apparatus has actionable intelligence on suspects then it should carry out a targeted attack. Clearing of landmines is the final demand and the PTM chief points out that there each week people continue to be either seriously injured or killed by landmines. All of which underscores this movement’s commitment to the Constitution. Meaning that it is honouring its part of the social contract between state and citizenry. Now that the PPP has taken a bold stand to support Pashteen’s right to free assembly — the party must bring the matter before Parliament. For the job of an effective opposition is to step in and do the right thing when the government has dropped the ball. It is hoped that the Centre is listening. *Published in Daily Times, December 10th 2018.