In a concerning turn of events, Lahore police launched a crackdown on peaceful protestors, detaining eight activists associated with the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), including the prominent leader Rahiman Wazir. The activists were participating in a peaceful protest at Liberty Chowk in Lahore on January 28th. The demonstration aimed to voice opposition against the alleged illegal detainment of PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen in Jhelum jail, Punjab.
The arrest of Manzoor Pashteen has raised eyebrows as there is no record of him being present in Jhelum or Chakwal, and no specific First Information Report (FIR) has been filed against him. Despite these facts, Jhelum Police and then Chakwal Police, seemingly acting on directives from the Pakistan Army, reportedly placed him under illegal Maintenance of Public Order (3MPO) orders. More recently, Pashteen has once again been booked under the controversial 3MPO, this time by the orders of Attock Deputy Commissioner.
The actions taken by the Lahore Police in detaining peaceful protestors and the PTM activists highlight a serious infringement on human rights in Pakistan. The incident underscores a growing pattern of impunity within the establishment, raising questions about the country’s commitment to democratic principles.
While the establishment runs a propaganda to project itself as a democracy, the recent crackdown on dissenting voices suggests a different reality. The prevailing lawlessness and the authoritarian approach of the regime are contributing to an environment where citizens’ rights are suppressed rather than protected.