With the mainstreaming of Federally Administrated Tribal areas already underway and considering the recent visits to the region by the Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), the people of the region can be confident that their legitimate demands and developmental needs are being taken into consideration. It was not long ago that Pastun people of the region were out in the streets vociferously demanding that their rights be respected. The government had to take proactive steps to ensure that these concerns were being placated, and the slowdown of public protests should be taken as a sign that these attempts were at least partially successful.

However, the government continues to make massive blunders when it comes to dealing with this sensitive issue; when it continues to give the impression – be it an unintended one – that the state views their motivations with suspicion. The Members of National Assembly (MNA) from North Waziristan, Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir – who were popularly elected to the federal legislative body as the representatives of this discontent - were offloaded from a Dubai-bound flight on Peshawar airport by security officials on Friday without a legitimate reason and against the rules that cover such incidents. Despite having acquired bail and not being on the Exit Control List (ECL) the two lawmakers were kept at the airport for long enough so that they miss the flight to the Pakhtun cultural event they were planning on attending.

Such blatantly irregular acts, which almost seem targeted to affect these specific lawmakers, are at odds with a government that has promised to refrain from political victimisation and has promised transparency. These actions will not only inflame the constituents that these lawmakers represent, but will further paint the government as a biased and unfair one – one that will bend the laws itself when it wishes too.

These are regrettable actions, and the government must answer for them.