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.