In a sad turn of events, human rights lawyer Imaan Mazari has been arrested once more outside Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, just hours after she was granted bail by an Islamabad anti-terrorism court. This painful incident comes after the Islamabad police said she was arrested in connection with a terrorism case registered at Bara Kahu police station.
Imaan Mazari’s and Ali Wazir’s arrest came two days after they courageously joined a protest organized by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), which fights for the rights of ethnic Pashtuns. Under false charges, these leaders were arrested unconstitutionally on 19 & 20 August. The rally was held in the heartland of Islamabad to demand answers from the Pakistan Army about the atrocities committed against Pashtuns. Several cases of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, and restrictions on speech and movement have become a norm in the region.
Therefore, for speaking out against the powerful military establishment at the rally in Islamabad, Mazari was taken into custody. The charges against her included staging a sit-in, resisting, and interfering in state affairs. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan stood up against Imaan Mazari’s arrest and demanded her immediate release, labeling the actions of Islamabad police as “unacceptable”.
PTM founder and leader Manzoor Pashteen expressed his frustration with the brutality and inhumane nature of Pakistan ‘establishment’. He remarked on Imaan Mazari’s re-arrest, Ali Wazir’s judicial remand, and the detention of eight PTM workers which was increased to more four days, highlighting the contrast with how the situation was handled when, an American, Raymond Davis was involved.
In a tweet, Pashteen said, “In the case of American Raymond Davis, the cowardly general was doing his utmost to secure his release. However, when it involved innocent citizens, he initiated a series of arrests, followed by physical remand and torture.”
Pashteen has raised his voice again and fuelled the people with new energy. He said despite all the means of suppression, the resilience of the Pashtun people shines through. He called out to all the Pashtuns on September 1, in Quetta, Peshawar, Karachi, and beyond to raise their voices. He said, “All will unite to challenge the atrocities inflicted upon them, and now they will be standing up for the pain endured by every Pashtun, including Ali Wazir. This clarion call will inflict a deeper scar on the face of Pakistan Army who thought arresting the leaders will repress the movement.”