PTM activists stage protests in Paris against arrest of Pashtun leaders

at 11:26 pm

New Delhi (NVI): Scores of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement activists today staged a protest outside Pakistan embassy in Paris, demanding immediate release of Pashtun leader Ali Wazir and Dr Said Alam Mehsud of PTM who are being prosecuted on anti-state charges.

The protesters demanded illegal detention of the Pashtun lawmakers and leaders, campaigning for Pakistan’s ethnic Pashtun minority. The protest was organised PTM France.

Earlier on January 9, dozens of activists rallied in front of the residence of the Ambassador to Pakistan in Washington DC against the arrest of Ali Wazir and Dr Said Alam Mehsud.

Members of the PTM in the Washington Metro area had called for the demonstrations after the authorities announced that both the leaders were being prosecuted on anti-state charges.

The protestors rejected the accusation and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the leaders.

Human Rights activists have criticised the detention of Ali Wazir, a sitting Member of National Assembly (MNA- the Pakistani Parliament) and Dr Said Alam Mehsud, a senior leader of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).

Ali Wazir was arrested in the northwestern city of Peshawar on December 16 after a case was lodged against him in the port city of Karachi in connection with a recent public meeting by the country’s opposition.

An anti-terrorism court in December remanded in police custody Wazir and three others in a case pertaining to allegedly using provocative language against state institutions at a gathering in Karachi.

The Pakistani authorities have accused the PTM leaders of committing several offences, including hatching a criminal conspiracy and passing derogatory remarks against state institutions, as per local media reports.

Dr Said Alam Mehsud, another prominent Pashtun voice was arrested earlier this month while participating in a protest against the arrest of Wazir.

Pertinent to mention here that Pashtuns are a minority population in Pakistan and they have been targeted by the military for a long time, besides facing ethnic stereotyping at the hands of the Pakistani state and its security forces.