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January 28, 2020

Charges of speaking against Constitution: PTM chief, 6 others arrested in Peshawar

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January 28, 2020

PESHAWAR: The chief of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) Manzoor Ahmad Mahsud, commonly known as Manzoor Pashteen, was arrested by the police in the limits of the Tehkal Police Station on the University Road early Monday.

He was later produced in a court that sent him to prison on a 14-day judicial remand. This is the first time that Manzoor Pashteen, a young man in his 20s who launched the PTM in 2018 and belongs to South Waziristan, has been arrested by the police. Two other PTM stalwarts, Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, had been arrested earlier after a violent incident in North Waziristan in which 13 of their supporters were killed. They were later bailed out. He was held along with six other PTM activists during the raid at Tehkal in the provincial capital.

Others arrested were identified as Idrees, Hameed Wazir, Bilal, Salam Mandokhel, Salman and Farooq. “Today’s arrest is the biggest honour for me that I have been held for raising voice for my nation. I have always raised voice for my nation but today I am happy that I am offering sacrifice for my people,” Manzoor Pashteen told people who had gathered around him after his arrest.

His talk was recorded by some of his supporters and later posted on social media. There were reports that Manzoor Pashteen was arrested based on a case lodged by the City Police Station in Dera Ismail Khan, accusing him of speaking against the Constitution of the country. No one officially commented on the arrest of the PTM leader that sparked a heated debate on the

social media across the country.

“He was wanted to the Dera Ismail Khan Police. The Tehkal Police arrested him under Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code. He was produced before a local court that sent him to the judicial lock-up,” an official requesting anonymity told The News.

Our correspondents/agencies add: The ANP and PPP condemned the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen.

In a statement, the ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan said that arresting people was not a solution to any issue, therefore, talks should be held to iron out the differences.

The PPP secretary general for KP Faisal Karim Kundi said political arrests only aggravate the situation and did not help resolve political issues.

Meanwhile, Pakistan cautioned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani against interfering in its “internal matters” after he expressed concerns over the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen.

“We have noted with serious concern the recent tweets by President Ashraf Ghani, which are a clear interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs and hence, unwarranted,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office following Ghani’s remarks on Monday.

Hours after Pashteen’s arrest, the Afghan president on his official Twitter handle expressed concerns saying: “I am troubled by the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen and his colleagues. I fully echo the concerns raised by (the) Amnesty International in this regard and hope for their immediate release.”