A prominent activist of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) in Pakistan, Manzoor Pashteen, was arrested by the police in Peshawar’s Shaheen Town on January 26, Sunday, on the charges of sedition. According to PTM’s Mohsin Dawar, Pashteen has been arrested for fighting for the rights of the persecuted Pashtun community in a peaceful and democratic manner.
The PTM will be holding a mass public gathering in the province of Balochistan on the death anniversary of its leader Arman Loni on February 6.
Pashteen had led a similar public gathering earlier, on January 12, in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where residents had massively participated, calling for justice for the Pashtun community in the country.
The PTM, led by Ali Wazir, Mohsir Dawar and Manzoor Pashteen, among others, has been leading campaigns against extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations inflicted on Pakistan’s Pashtun population. The movement has also demanded the de-mining of former tribal areas and greater autonomy for the northwestern belt of the country.
According to local estimates, about 30,000 people from the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have been subjected to enforced disappearances in the past 10 years. The PTM leadership accuses the Pakistani intelligence agencies of being involved in consistent human rights violations against Pashtuns. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has previously stated that 1,532 individuals continue to remain missing across four provinces of the country, the numbers being particularly high in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Balistan.
Pashteen rose to prominence after he laid the foundation of PTM in Peshawar’s Dara Ismail Khan in 2017. He had campaigned against the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud by the notorious police officer Rao Anwar on January 13, 2018, and demanded an end to extrajudicial killings taking place across the volatile South Waziristan. PTM has since been leading massive rallies across Pakistan to highlight the Pashtun demands.