Pakistan arrested popular Pashtun leader Manzoor Pashteen along with other Pashtun leaders Bilal Pakhtun, Idrees Pashteen, and Zohaib on Friday morning. Manzoor Pashteen was on his way to Waziristan to join the Jani Khel sit-in when the Kohat police arrested him. Manzoor Pashteen is the chief of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) and has been protesting for the basic human rights of Pashtuns across Pashtunistan.
Mohsin Dahwar, leader of PTM confirmed Manzoor’s arrest in a tweet and said: “Utterly shameful how @ManzoorPashteen has been arrested to try and stop him from joining sit in underway in Jani Khel (Bannu). Dissent is not a crime. Demanding rights is not a crime. Demand his immediate release and of all of PTM’s activists.”
Local Pashtuns across Waziristan said that PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen and other members of the PTM have been arrested by Pakistan only to prevent them from joining the ongoing sit-in in Jani Khel. “They are afraid of the Pashtuns and so they have arrested our leaders. We are not going to bow down to these Panjabi generals,” a local Pashtun said on Facebook.
Social media has been flooded with support to Manzoor Pashteen and other Pashtun leaders arrested by the Pakistanis. Social media activists have condemned the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen and demanded his immediate release.
Afsariab Khatak a senior Pashtun leader said “Arresting PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen in Kohat and stopping him from proceeding to Waziristan for joining the peaceful sit-ins of the locals is part of intensifying repression against PTM because it exposes regrouping of terrorists near Durand Line.”
Baloch student leader Dr Mahrang Baloch condemned Manzoor Pashteen’s arrest in a tweet “Condemn the arrest of @manzoorpashteen. He is just campaigning for peace, he speaks about state brutality and is one of the strong voice for the voiceless people but state doesn’t tolerate him because he exposed war crime and HR violations.”