PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen released from prison

Manzoor Pashteen, leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, addresses his supporters soon after his release from Dera Ismail Khan’s central jail on February 25, 2020. (Photo Courtesy: PTM)
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Updated 25 February 2020

PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen released from prison

  • Pashteen was arrested in January on charges ranging from hate speech to sedition
  • PTM parliamentarian Ali Wazir says his colleague was imprisoned on false charges

PESHAWAR: Manzoor Pashteen, the leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), was released from prison on Tuesday, after a sessions court in Dera Ismail Khan granted him bail in the fifth and last case against him, his lawyer confirmed to Arab News.
“After spending nearly a month in Central Jail, Dera Ismail Khan, Pashteen has won the legal battle and come out of prison. He was granted bail in all five cases after we submitted three different surety bonds of up to Rs300,000 in court,” said the lawyer, Saeed Akhtar, also a PTM leader.
Pashteen was arrested in Peshawar on Jan. 27 on a number of charges, ranging hate speech to criminal conspiracy and sedition.
Jubilant Pashteen delivered a brief speech to PTM supporters who came to welcome him upon his release.
“We fought a legal battle within the constitutional framework for the release of our leader,” said Abdullah Nangyal, a PTM activist. “We have won today.”
Parliamentarian and PTM member Ali Wazir told Arab News he was certain that Pashteen would soon come out of prison.
“The cases lodged against Pashteen were concocted and groundless. Today is our victory and the victory of law and justice. Our struggle for the supremacy of law will continue,” he said.
PTM campaigns against alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of Pashtuns and members of 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 states, such as India and Afghanistan. The PTM denies any foreign links.
Many PTM supporters are ethnic Pashtuns who hail originally from areas bordering Afghanistan, which used to be the center point of a long insurgency by Taliban and other militants and subsequent operations by the Pakistani military.
Millions of people from the region have been displaced due to the operations.


Pakistan grapples with more than 4,000 coronavirus cases on World Health Day

Updated 31 min 14 sec ago

Pakistan grapples with more than 4,000 coronavirus cases on World Health Day

  • Reported 577 confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours marking the highest single-day spike
  • Pakistan is witnessing an increase in coronavirus cases despite countrywide lockdown entering the third week

ISLAMABAD: As countries across the globe mark World Health Day on April 7 appreciating the paramedics's role in fight against the pandemic, Pakistan's national virus tally soared pass 4,400 on Tuesday with 54 reported deaths.

The South Asian nation reported 577 confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours alone in the highest single-day spike, according to the official database.
Pakistan remained without any reported coronavirus cases as late as February 26 despite being an immediate neighbor to Iran and China -- the two countries worst hit by coronavirus outbreak. 

However, virus cases are on a constant rise despite the country extending almost complete lockdown for the third consecutive week.  

Pakistan's most heavily populated Punjab province reported the highest number of cases at 2,004, according to official data. 

The second highest number of virus cases are reported in Sindh at 932. The northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan reported 500 while the country's largest province by area, Balochistan, has 202 reported cases. The number of reported cases in Gilgit-Baltistan is 211, 83 in Islamabad, and 18 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir with at least 429 coronavirus patients having recovered across the country, the data shows.

Virus cases in Pakistan continue to soar despite the country being under lockdown for the third consecutive week.

Pakistan's "all-weather-friend" and a staunch ally, China, has sent a team of health experts which is engaged in training doctors and paramedics in Punjab to enhance their preparedness to deal with virus patients. 

"Training includes case detection, prevention & clinical management of #Covid_19,” the Chinese embassy in Pakistan said in a tweet.

Pakistani authorities are continuously putting more resources and trying to improve the country’s health infrastructure to deal with the outbreak.
Last week, Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services (MNHS) said in a report submitted before the Supreme Court that the number of coronavirus cases could cross the 50,000 mark in the country by end of April.

According to the health ministry, in order to facilitate authorities in combating virus spread, 13,000 health facilities have been entrusted with collecting surveillance data, in addition to spreading public awareness about the disease.

However, in this crucial fight against the deadly pandemic, doctors and paramedics often complain of lack of protective wear while treating the swiftly growing number of virus patients.  

Pakistan on Monday reported the third death resulting from coronavirus among the fraternity. 

Dr. Abdul Qadir Soomro, a 70-year-old veteran physician was the administrator of a charity hospital run by Al-Khidmat Foundation doctor, the health ministry said in a statement.