Dozens of women in Pakistan’s remote North Waziristan tribal district have staged what is being called the first sit-in protest there to demand the release of sons, brothers, and husbands allegedly detained by Pakistani security forces.
Local residents told RFE/RL on October 13 that the women’s protest has widespread support, including from local elders.
Said Anwar, a local member of the Pashtun Protection Movement, told Radio Mashaal that several local men had been rounded during a security raid in the Muhammadkhel area following a roadside bomb blast on a military convoy in the area on September 15.
Local elders told Radio Mashaal that they met with security officials but failed to secure the release of the men.
The women say the protest will continue until the men are released.
It was unclear exactly how many men in the area had been detained.
Pakistani military officials could not be reached for comment.
A local officer told Radio Mashaal that efforts are under way to defuse the situation and to persuade the women to end their sit-in protest.
North Waziristan served as a stronghold for local and foreign militants until 2014, when Pakistan’s army launched a massive military operation to clear the region of combatants.
Despite the army’s claims of success, the region on the border of Afghanistan has continued to be the scene of violent attacks, targeted killings, and roadside bombs.