Pashtun leader Manzoor Pashteen released after over two months of needless arrest by Pak Army

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manzoor pashteen visits camp
Manzoor Pashteen (Photo: News Intervention)

Manzoor Pashteen has been released from the Attock jail after enduring months of imprisonment and torture at the hands of Pakistan Army.

Manzoor Pashteen was implicated in 3MPO thrice by the Jhelum, Chakwal and Attock police in a consecutive way. Notably, Pashteen was released on Wednesday, February 7, a day before general elections in Pakistan.

Pashteen was abducted from Chaman on the night of December 3, when he was enroute to participate in the Turbat protest, organized against the extra judicial killing of innocent Baloch youths by the so-called Counter Terrorism Department.

Since then, he has been implicated in different cases one after other. After two consecutive arrests by the Islamabad Police, he was finally released from the Adiala prison, but was picked by Jhelum police from the gates of prison. Jhelum Police implicated him in 3MPO and when the judicial remand ended, he was picked up by Chakwal Police only to be released and picked again by Attock police.

The consecutive arrest validates the claims of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) that their leader was arrested and was being harassed on the orders of Pakistan Army. It is a well-known fact that Pakistan Army de facto controls the administration and exploits the law-and-order machinery for its gains. Since, Pashteen has always remained a vocal critic of authoritarianism of Pakistan Army, his implication in five different cases and subsequent swift transition from jail-to-jail clearly highlights that Pak Army has used its influence.

Unsubstantiated arrest

Also, the cases had no such substance to keep him incarcerated for so long. During a hearing over his detention by Chakwal Police, DC Chakwal was scorned off for the same reason. When the Lahore High Court enquired the reason for Pashteen’s arrest, Chakwal DC stated that they found a pamphlet in his pocket which was crucial for national security. Court lambasted her for citing such nonsensical reason to implicate a person in 3MPO.

There is absolute absence of legal safeguards in Pakistan when it comes to defending the human rights. Interestingly, Manzoor Pashteen’s statement after his release shows that he persists on his struggle against Pakistan Army. His resistance is only going to increase in the coming times. During his address he said, “They said this is Punjab (allegedly conveyed by establishment during his prison tenure), one day I will show you this is Pakhtunkhwa.” Nonetheless, after over two months of captivity, Pashteen is now out and contrary to what Pakistan Army thought, PTM is enthusiastic to continue its struggle and go for a more unified resistance along with Baloch in the coming time.        

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