ISLAMABAD - Chief of Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Mehmood Khan Achakzai Sunday demanded of federal and Punjab governments to direct police not to harass Pashtun community under the cover of National Action Plan (NAP).

Addressing a protest rally outside the Islamabad Press Club, Achakzai observed that only Pashtuns had been singled out to be ‘suspects’ after the launch of NAP adding that the Punjab government had been treating ethnic community as aliens in the province.

He revealed that 600 shop owners who were ethnically Pashtuns in Azad Jammu and Kashmir had been warned to leave the area. “We demand of the AJK government to compensate the owners before expelling them. But this is not the solution,” he told the protesters amid fiery slogans by the participants.

Achakzai whose party is an ally of the ruling PML-N in Balochistan, sounded more an opposition leader on Sunday when he came down hard on the federal government for blocking over 70,000 computerized national identity cards (CNICs) of Pashtuns in Punjab.

“The reason Nadra gives for blocking the cards is that the card-holders are Afghans. Let me make it clear that all Afghans are Pashtuns and Pashtuns are Afghans. The only difference is of citizenship. I am also Afghan by ethnicity but having Pakistani citizenship,” the head of PkMAP maintained.

Hitting out at the Punjab police, Achakzai claimed that government officials sought a huge amount of money from Pashtuns and threatened to place their names on the list of Taliban terrorists if they failed to make the payment.

The PkMAP chief regretted that police and law enforcement agencies were not sparing the community that had lost everything due to terrorism and added that where would militancy-hit people take refuge after they were forced to abandon their native areas.

The protest rally was attended by a large number of Pashtuns settled in Rawalpindi-Islamabad and adjoining districts.

Some of the protesters were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the attitude of Punjab police and demanding of Nadra to restore the identity cards.

Gul Sher Wazir, a militancy-hit elderly man who migrated from North Waziristan recently and took refuge in Rawalpindi, complained that he had been knocking the doors of Nadra for getting identity cards of his relatives but the officials there were not entertaining him without any reason.

Senator Usman Kakar, on the occasion, said that the issue of maltreatment to Pashtuns would be raised in Senate, adding, that his party would not surrender its principled stance when it comes to problems faced by his community members.

He said that police should not nab people mere on the basis of doubt. He regretted that hundreds of Pashtuns who were arrested in Punjab were later released after being found innocent.