18 February 2020

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President Ghani Hopes Immediate Release of Manzoor Pashteen

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Tuesday January 28, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Pakistan police have arrested Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Pashteen in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Senior PTM leader and parliament member Mohsin Dawar tweeted last night that Manzoor Pashteen was detained in the Tahkal area of the city. “This is our punishment for demanding our rights in a peaceful & democratic manner, strengthen our resolve. We demand his immediate release,” he tweeted. Meanwhile, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in several tweets said that he was troubled by the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen and his colleagues. “I am troubled by the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen and his colleagues. I fully echo the concerns raised by Amnesty International in this regard and hope for their immediate release. While our region is suffering from atrocities caused by violent extremism and terrorism.
“Governments in the region must support and encourage peaceful civilian movements for justice and must avoid any means of force and violence against these movements. On the contrary, differences with such peaceful movements must be resolved through dialogue and engagement, the president said in another tweet. Former senior Afrasiab Khattak also tweeted: “The arrest of Pashteen exposes the colonial-type, repressive state policy against Pashtuns in general and the people of Waziristan in particular.” Instead of listening to their peaceful demands, the rulers had gone for a grave provocation, the Pakhtun nationalist politician remarked. Pasheen, 27, heads the Pashtun Protection Movement, which has emerged as a force among the country’s Pashtun minority, drawing tens of thousands to rallies. The group contends that the military is waging a campaign of intimidation as it battles Islamist militants in the country’s rugged border region near Afghanistan. The group says the army’s heavy-handed tactics include extrajudicial killings and thousands of disappearances and detentions. Gulalai Islmail, a Pakistani human right activist who recently fled the country to avoid harassment by security agencies, also denounced the arrest in a tweet. “We, Pashtuns, will remain non-violent in the face of the arrest of our movement’s leader,” she said, adding that peaceful resistance is “The major pillar” of the movement. Meanwhile, Pashtun activists saying that huge demonstrations to be held across Pakistan over arrest of the PTM leader.

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