Pashtun leader Umar Daud Khattak accused the Pakistani government and the army of abducting hundreds of Pashtun girls and using them as sex slaves.
Khattak said Pashtuns, an ethnic people living mostly Waziristan, sprawled across Pakistan and Afghanistan, have been targeted by the Pakistani army which has destroyed their houses and suppressed their freedom.
"Pakistan has misled Pashtuns enough, now we won't be fooled anymore. We are forming a Pashtunistan liberation army aiming for an armed struggle against Pakistan," Khattak told ANI.
Khattak, an activist based in Afghanistan, said the Pashtuns are forming a Pashtunistan Liberation Army, and that they will launch an armed struggle against Pakistan.
The Pashto-speaking people live in the region straddling Hindu Kush in northeastern Afghanistan and the northern stretch of the Indus River in Pakistan. There are around 10 million Pashtuns in Afghanistan and more than 20 million in Pakistan, where they are the third largest ethnic group.
Khattak said that according to UNHCR, about 500,000 Pashtuns from the area have fled to Afghanistan to escape atrocities of the Pakistani army. He said the Pashtunistan liberation army "will put an end to terror."
He said the Pakistan army bulldozed several of the community's houses, looted markets and raped their women. "It's a catastrophe, Khattak added.
Pakistani Pashtuns have been increasingly getting caught up in the army's battle with the Afghan Taliban terror outfits operating in the country. "Sometimes Pak fights with the US, sometimes with neighbours. We people of Waziristan have never been on the side of terrorists," a Pakistani Pashtun told media following a bombing raid conducted by Pak military in the region last year as part of terror crackdown.
"Everyone know where the so-called terrorists are hiding and operating. They are hiding in Islamabad and Karachi," another Pakistani Pashtun said, according to India Today.
Originally thought to be Afghanistan natives, several Pashtun tribes moved to Pakistan between the 13th and 16th centuries, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. "Pashtun tradition asserts that they are descended from Afghana, grandson of King Saul of Israel, though most scholars believe it more likely that they arose from an intermingling of ancient Aryans from the north or west with subsequent invaders," it says.