LAHORE: In the wake of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement’s (PTM) resolve to stage a rally at Mochi Gate here on Sunday (today), police launched raids late on Saturday and arrested several leaders of the PTM, Awami Workers Party (AWP) and Pashtun students from a local hotel and Punjab University.

As the news of the arrests spread through social media, protests were staged in Quetta and Peshawar on the call of the PTM leader, it is learnt.

Police raided a hotel on Davies Road and arrested PTM leader Ali Wazir, AWP president Fanoos Gujjar and Ismat Shahjahan besides several other leaders and workers.

Police also raided Punjab University and arrested Pashtun student leaders Alamgir, Muzamil Khan, Bilal Mandokhail and others.

Senior police officer denies arrest of PTM leaders

After the refusal by the Punjab government to allow the PTM rally at Mochi Gate, the PTM leaders had asserted that they would stage the rally as per plan, adding that there would be no violence or agitation.

After the arrests, PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen took to social media to call for nationwide protests against the Lahore arrests.

On Twitter, the hashtags #PashtunLongMarch, #ReleasePTMWorkers and #ShameOnPunjabPolice became top trends.

When contacted, Deputy Inspector General Haider Ashraf said police had not arrested any worker but engaged a dozen of PTM leaders to get affidavits from them that they would not take part in any anti-state activity.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2018