Police release Pakistani lawmaker protesting PTM leader’s arrest

Lawmaker and member of Pashtun Tahafaz Movement (PTM) Mohsin Dawar standing with PTM workers after attending a hearing at Islamabad court where he was bailed on January 29, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Mohsin Dawar twitter account)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Police release Pakistani lawmaker protesting PTM leader’s arrest

  • Lawmaker Mohsin Dawar was arrested on Tuesday from Islamabad
  • He was participating in a protest against the arrest of PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen

ISLAMABAD: Police on Wednesday released a Pashtun parliamentarian who was detained for protesting the arrest of one of his party activists a day before.

Member of the National Assembly Mohsin Dawar, who is also a senior member of the Pashtun Tahafaz Movement, was taken into custody along with 23 other PTM activists since they were demonstrating outside the National Press Club against Monday’s arrest of Manzoor Pashteen, one of the founding leaders of the movement.

The arrested PTM activists were presented before a local court in Islamabad on Wednesday and were later sent to jail.

Pashteen was arrested by police from Peshawar in the early hours of Monday on a number of charges, including “sedition.”

PTM campaigns against the alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of Pashtuns and other ethnic minorities.

It emerged in 2018 after the killing of an ethnic Pashtun man by police in the port city of Karachi. The killing led to nationwide protests and turned the issue of alleged state violence against Pashtuns into a national debate.

The Pakistani military accuses the PTM of being funded by foreign enemies, such as India and Afghanistan. The PTM denies any foreign links.

Many of the PTM supporters are ethnic Pashtuns who hail originally from areas bordering Afghanistan that remained the epicenter of a long insurgency by the Taliban and other militant groups. The area also witnessed military operations by the Pakistan army. Other than that, millions of people were displaced due to the conflict in the region.

Last year in May, two PTM lawmakers, including Dawar, were arrested under anti-terrorism laws and kept in detention for nearly four months after a deadly clash with security personnel at a security post in northern Pakistan.


Pakistan postpones dates for Hajj 2020 applications

Updated 23 February 2020

Pakistan postpones dates for Hajj 2020 applications

  • Religious Affairs Ministry cites technical issues
  • 13 banks were to start receiving Hajj applications from Monday

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs (MRA) has postponed the dates for receiving Hajj applications citing technical issues at its end, officials told Arab News on Saturday.

The ministry had directed 13 banks and their designated branches to start processing the applications from Monday.

“All the arrangements for Hajj 2020 have been completed and are in place. There are few technical issues due to which banks have been barred from receiving Hajj applications till further order,” Imran Siddiqui, MRA spokesperson, told Arab News in Islamabad, adding that the new dates would be announced soon.

In a circular issued on Friday, the MRA announced the suspension of a directive from February 17 which had asked the banks to process the applications from February 24 to March 4.

Earlier this month, Siddiqui had told Arab News that 179,210 Pakistani pilgrims are set to perform Hajj this year, out of which nearly 107,000 will be facilitated through a government scheme.

“The Hajj 2020 package, through the government scheme, would cost Rs 490,000 for pilgrims from the northern regions and Rs 480,000 for those from the southern regions of the country,” he said.

According to official statistics provided by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan topped the list of countries with more than 2.1 million Umrah pilgrims last year, while it remained at the second spot for those performing Hajj.