Lahore:  Over 500 Afghans and Pakistani Pakhtuns have requested Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to stop raids on their houses and businesses on the pretext of “looking for terror suspects”.

They described the raids as “racism against Pathans” and requested Sharif in a letter to personally take up the matter and redress their grievances.

“Stop police raids and atrocities against Pathans and Afghans. Why every Pathan is a suspect?” the letter states.

Shahbaz Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Pathan Ittehad (PPI), said police in Faisalabad district, 150 km from Lahore, have been committing racism against Pathans.

“We are being forced by the police to leave Punjab and go back to native localities in the northwestern part of the country,” he claimed.

Khan said police have taken a number of Pathans into custody since the start of the Islamic holy month of Muharram after “tagging them as terror suspects”. The PPI has demanded their release.

The banned Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups have their strongholds in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and the adjoining tribal areas, where most of the residents are Pakhtuns.

Pakhtuns say they shouldn’t be tagged as ‘terror suspects’

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