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Pakistani Protesters Condemn Assassination Attempt On Rights Activist

Protesters on July 22 urged the government to protect citizens from militant groups.

Dozens of protesters have staged a demonstration in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar to condemn an assassination attempt on Fazal Khan, an ethnic Pashtun rights activist.

Khan has been a vocal critic of both the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group and Pakistani authorities, which he accuses of turning a blind eye to militants.

Khan, a lawyer, told police that he was on his way home from the Peshawar High Court on July 21 when two motorcyclists opened fire on him. Khan said he got away unharmed.

Protesters on July 22 urged the government to protect citizens from militant groups.

Khan lost his son in a Peshawar school massacre carried out by TTP militants in 2014 and has campaigned for justice for the nearly 150 students and teachers who were killed.

Khan is a member of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), which defends the rights of Pashtuns, Pakistan’s largest ethnic minority.

The PTM has campaigned for civil rights for ethnic Pashtuns since 2018.

The group has attracted tens of thousands of people to public rallies to denounce the powerful Pakistani Army's heavy-handed operations in tribal regions impacted by militant operations and the military's alleged connection with Islamist militants.

International rights groups say authorities have banned peaceful rallies organized by the PTM and some of its leading members have been arbitrarily detained and prevented from traveling within the country. Some members have also faced charges for alleged sedition and cybercrimes.

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    Radio Mashaal is a public-service broadcaster providing a powerful alternative to extremist propaganda in Pakistan's remote tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan.