Zhob Protest Against Terrorism Enters Third Day

Zhob Protest Against Terrorism Enters Third Day
A sit-in organized by residents of Dana Sherani in Zhob, Balochistan, has entered its third day today (Tuesday) as participants demand an end to terrorism and militancy, urging the state and the military to take effective measures to protect citizens and ensure that no more lives are lost to the scourge of terror.


On July 1, multiple terror attacks were reported to have taken place in the Dana Sherani area of Zhob, including on a paramilitary FC checkpost and a police station. At least one FC official and three police officers were martyred in the attack, responsibility for which was later claimed by the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The attack is part of the latest wave of terror sweeping Pakistan, and specifically targeting the western provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, over the past year. Pakistan's internal security has been steadily chipped away by a resurgent TTP, which has significantly recouped its strength since 2021 and has ordered its militants to carry out attacks against Pakistani security forces in November last year.

Compounding the security threat, Baloch separatist groups have also ratcheted up their attacks against Pakistani security forces in the restive Balochistan province, with the banned Baloch Liberation Army's (BLA) Majeed brigade claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing attack in Turbat on June 24. Reports have also emerged that the TTP and BLA have negotiated a three-year pact to coordinate their activities against the Pakistani state.

Attacks by TTP militants, and other jihadist groups like ISKP, continue as Islamabad is cajoling the interim Afghan government of the Taliban to relocate TTP elements away from the Pak-Afghan border.

It may be noted that similar public protests erupted organically and spontaneously in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province during the summer of 2022, when videos surfaced showing armed militants freely roaming around the countryside of Swat in Malakand and a few unrelated violent incidents were reported. However, those public demonstrations received little to no mainstream media coverage, and were drowned out by the catastrophic floods that submerged most of Pakistan by late August last year.


Protesters at the Zhob sit-in said they were protesting the eruption of violence in their backyard.

"We are here to protest the senseless killing of the policemen. How long will we have to keep being victims of terror?" a participant at the sit-in said.

Many at the sit-in are sporting the eye-catching Pashteen cap that supporters of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) are associated with. Some were hesitant to be interviewed, while others express comfort at speaking generally and on the condition of anonymity.


"We want the state, especially the army, to put an end to terrorism once and for all. We all know who these people are, we all know why they do this. We just want an end to the killings, that is the central demand," a participant of the sit-in told The Friday Times.

"We came here of our own accord, nobody called us or told us to come here. We feel the pain of those families who lost their loved ones."

"We are here in solidarity with the victims of terrorism, regardless of them being civilian or from the forces," another protester said. "We just want an end to terrorism, that's it. We also don't want the army to start profiling and targeting Pashtuns in the name of 'counter terror' operations," he clarified.

Demonstrators present at the sit-in are confident they will keep their protest going until the state responds to their demands and takes meaningful action against the perpetrators, sponsors and sympathizers of terrorism and extremism.