ISLAMABAD - The Special Committee of Senate Tuesday met with the leadership of Pushtoon Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) in order to address their grievances — a move that is being described as first formal interaction between parliament and the aggrieved Pushtoon nationalist group.

PTM leadership including Manzoor Pashteen and MNA Mohsin Dawar participated in an in-camera session of the Senate Special Committee formed earlier “to examine purported grievances amongst some sections of the society and reach out to engage with the genuinely to create national cohesion”.

In February last, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had formed the committee having mandate to address grievances of aggrieved segments of the society including PTM, Baloch nationalists and people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen informed the meeting that continued for three hours about the grievances of the group while showing his confidence in the committee. For the past some time, PTM has been holding rallies in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to raise its voice for the fulfilment of demands.

According to a statement issued by the Senate Secretariat, Pashteen said: “Recovery of missing persons, clearance of landmines and the formation of truth and reconciliation commission were the significant demands of PTM in order to revive the confidence of the people of area.”

“Welcoming the suggestions of the committee to resolve demands of PTM, Pashteen said that our demands are understandable and their solution was of utmost importance,” the statement said.

In response, the committee agreed that the demands of PTM were fair enough and a solution to these should have to be found out. The meeting stressed that there was a need to form a roadmap so that solid recommendations should be made on legitimate demands to ensure their implementation. The members remarked that the meeting was a step forwards towards the solution of these problems. The meeting reiterated that the process of consultations would continue.

The convener of committee Senator Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif said that the redressal of class-based deprivations was only possible through provisions of law and constitution. He added that the purpose of formation of this committee was to address issues of deprived segments of society. “The Senate is the representative of federating units which always hears and takes steps to address issues of such segments and plays the role of bridge between the federation, provinces and deprived segments,” he added. He said that Pushtoon culture had their own traditions where Jirga had a central position to address issues through negotiations. This committee would play its role to address grievances of PTM while remaining within the limits of


 law and constitution, he added.

“The committee will find out such recommendations that will be implementable,” Senator Saif said adding that the region had witnessed turmoil and was facing security situation and most of the areas were affected by it.

The meeting recommended that a focal person should be appointed for better coordination with PTM. The meeting also suggested that PTM should also put all its demands before it in black and white.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senators Mushahid Hussain Syed and Mushahid Ullah Khan participated in the meeting on a special invitation. The over dozen activists and office-bearers of PTM were also part of the meeting besides lawmakers belonging to different parliamentary parties.

The special committee represents all major parliamentary parties of Senate, both from treasury and opposition benches.

The house in its session that prorogued on 1st February 2019 had authorised chairman Senate to form a special committee to hear to the aggrieved voices like the PTM and make recommendations to the federal government to address their genuine issues. Senator Saif was the first one who had raised this issue in the house and proposed to constitute the committee.