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Pak Pashtun leader Manzoor Pashteen arrested for sedition

Monday - January 27, 2020 2:47 pm , Category : WORLD
New Delhi/Islamabad, Jan 27 (IANS) Pakistan on Monday arrested the most prominent Pashtun leader and human rights activist Manzoor Pashteen and several of his supporters on charges of sedition.
Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Pashteen who has a massive following in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been a vocal critic of the excesses committed against the Pashtun people and extrajudicial killings by the Pakistan Army.
Sources in Islamabad said that Pashteen and nine of his party members including his closest aide Idrees, were arrested from Shaheen Town, Peshawar during the early hours of Monday.
Pashteen and other PTM members have been accused of sedition in an FIR filed against them in Dera Ismail Khan. The FIR has called his criticism of the Pakistani government as "derogatory comments about the state" and also objected to his public address on January 18 at Dera Ismail Khan, where he had said that Pakistan's 1973 Constitution violates basic human rights.
Condemning the arrests and demanding their immediate release, a senior PTM leader and member of National Assembly Mohsin Dawar on Twitter said that "it is our punishment for demanding our rights in a peaceful and democratic manner. Manzoor's arrest will only strengthen our resolve."
Sources said Pashteen and others will be shifted from Peshawar police custody to Dera Ismail Khan. Police will seek his transitory remand before a judicial magistrate. Apart from sedition, he has been booked for "criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity between different groups, condemning the creation of Pakistan and advocating the abolishment of its sovereignty," under the Pakistan Penal Code.
PTM leader Dawar however said that the party "will devise a strategy after consultations. We are up against those who are most troubled by demands for Constitutional rights, and we will continue doing that."
Human rights group Amnesty International in a tweet said: "Manzoor Pashteen has been arbitrarily detained for exercising his human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. He must be released immediately and unconditionally."

--IANS aat/kr