PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad on Thursday handed over the leader of an ethnic Pashtun rights group to police on a seven-day physical remand, on charges of inciting people against state institutions in a case registered against him earlier this year, his lawyer said.
Police in Pakistan’s southwestern Chaman border town arrested Manzoor Pashteen on Monday over a disputed gun attack on law enforcers near the country’s border with Afghanistan. Pashteen’s arrest came after he addressed protesters who were camped near the border to protest Pakistan’s new visa policy and passport regime at the border crossing.
However, his lawyer Musadiq Aziz said Pashteen was produced before ATC judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain in Islamabad on Thursday, in a complaint registered against his client and other leaders of his Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) group for a protest rally they held in Islamabad in August.
As per a copy of the FIR against Pashteen shared by his lawyer, the PTM leader was charged with inciting people against state institutions in speeches made at the rally.
“We contested the Pashteen case aggressively before the ATC judge who, after hearing arguments, handed my client over to police on seven days’ physical remand,” Aziz told Arab News.
Aziz pointed out that others nominated with Pashteen in the case had secured bail from the court, with his client being the exception.
Ali Wazir, a senior PTM leader and Pashtun rights activist, also confirmed Pashteen had been presented before the ATC judge for the complaint registered by Islamabad Police in August.
He added the PTM had planned a series of protests next week against Pashteen’s arrest in several parts of the country.
“A final public rally against Pashteen’s arrest will be held in Karachi,” he said.
Pashteen, 30, has emerged as a prominent advocate of the rights of ethnic Pashtuns who have allegedly faced rights abuses during Pakistan’s war against militants, mainly in its northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He heads the PTM group in Pakistan.