Leaders of rights movement in Pakistan face arrest under anti-terrorism laws for ‘undesirable language against state’

Karachi: Scores of leaders and workers of the Pashtoon Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) have been arrested by the Sindh police under anti-terrorism laws after they organised a rally on the outskirts of Karachi, officials said on Tuesday.

According to senior police officials, the PTM leaders and workers were booked for resorting to "undesirable language against state institutions" at the rally held at Sohrab Goth. An FIR was registered through Sohrab Goth Station House Officer Rao Zakir, officials said. The PTM is a social movement for Pashtoon human rights based in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Balochistan.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

"The workers of the PTM under directions of Manzoor Pashteen organised a rally and when the complainant SHO rushed to the scene and asked the PTM president of the area, Naurazay Tareen, to show relevant permission documents, he became jittery and created hindrance in official work and chanted slogans against state institutions and police," reads the contents of the FIR.

Police alleged that the organisers did not listen to the SHO and spread provocation, "creating an atmosphere of serious fear and chaos". Police invoked various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and 7-ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act) against 250-300 persons, including 16 identified by name.

Earlier, North Waziristan MNA Mohsin Dawar, who is a top leader of the PTM, in a tweet declared the arrest and subsequent disappearance of Alamzeb Mehsud, described as an active member of the PTM and a campaigner for missing persons.

The lawmaker said the young man's arrest was the latest in a series of incidents involving Sindh police and security agencies harassing PTM workers and activists following the party's successful rally in Karachi on Sunday.

Dawar demanded the immediate release of Mehsud and other PTM workers. The regional chapter of Amnesty International also expressed concern over the disappearance of the PTM activist.

"We are concerned about reports of the disappearance of PTM activist Alamzeb Mehsud. His whereabouts must be disclosed immediately. Either produce him in court or release him without delay," read a statement issued by the human rights watchdog.

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Updated Date: Jan 22, 2019 14:09:20 IST

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