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Police Booked PTM’s Manzoor Pashteen under terrorism charges for speech at Asma Jahangir Conference

LAHORE: Manzoor Pashteen, the leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), was arrested by the police on Monday for “criticising chiefs and generals of the Pakistan Army” while speaking at the Asma Jahangir Conference.

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, activist Sammi Deen Baloch, and former chief minister of Balochistan and chairperson of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal Akhtar Jan Mengal were among those who attended the session on “Reluctance to Criminalize Enforced Disappearance and Arbitrary Detentions.”

In his statement on Sunday, Pashteen identified the national organisations responsible for the killings in the former Fata districts committed in accordance with the “state of exceptions” policy imposed on Pashtun.

Additionally, according to the PTM leader, MNA Ali Wazir was not given a production order because of his right to free expression. He claimed that the powers assaulting free thought were beyond the reach of the media, courts, legislatures, and civil society. “Resistance is the sole means of escape.”

A day after the session, Pashteen claimed in a tweet that a complaint had only been filed against him for his conference speech, which was the only time he had been accused of treason and intimidation.

The Lahore Civil Lines police station received the allegation made by the PTM leader from a local by the name of Naeem Mirza. According to the report, Pashteen criticised the leaders and generals of the Pakistani Army and their participation in the fight against terrorism during his address.

It said that Pashteen attempted to incite popular opposition to the military forces and accused them of committing “genocide against Pashtuns.”

According to the FIR, 15 to 20 of Pashteen’s supporters screamed anti-army slogans and attempted to “provoke people against the armed forces and the state” throughout the speech.

The complaint referenced the Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 124A (sedition), 149 (every member of an unlawful assembly guilty of an offence committed in furtherance of a common aim), and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief). Additionally, it covered the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 Section 11-X (liability for inciting civil disorder).

In reaction to the allegations against him, Pashteen tweeted that the only way to silence the voices of the oppressed on the right was to “provide justice,” not through FIRs, imprisonment, or propaganda.

MNA Mohsin Dawar, meanwhile, denounced the FIR and called it “beyond disgraceful.”

“Much more than what Manzoor mentioned in his speech, many others have spoken up recently during protests. However, he is facing ATA and sedition charges. The absurd FIR ought to be dropped,” he Tweeted.

Pavan Manzoor
Written By

Pavan Manzoor is an experienced content writer , editor and social media handler along with a track record of youth-oriented activities in Pakistan and abroad. She was selected as a fully-funded delegate as a leadership fellow in Turkey. She also led a team of 5 volunteers at the week-long Young Professionals Fellowship in Maldives. She is also a member of the Youth Standing Committee on Higher Education.

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