Multan police on Monday arrested two brothers, Rawal Asad and Anas, under sedition charges for joining a protest on the call of Pashtoon Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chairman Manzoor Pashteen at the city's Nawan Shaher Chowk.
Rawal, a student at the Government Emerson College, Multan, and Anas, who studies at a local college, were arrested during a raid at their residence in the city's Northern Bypass area.
A case was registered against the two on behalf of the state under charges:
- 153 (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot-if rioting be committed; if not committed) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC),
- 123-A (Condemnation of the creation of the State, and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty) of the PPC,
- 124-A (Sedition) of the PPC,
- 290 (Punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for) of the PPC,
- 291 (Continuance of nuisance after injunction to discontinue) of the PPC,
- Punjab Sound Systems Regulation Act 2015-16 and
- 16 Maintenance of Public Order (MPO)
On Tuesday, Multan police released Anas on bail. However, his brother Rawal has not yet been produced before a court by the police to show his arrest. Police say they will present him tomorrow.
According to the first information report (FIR), a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, around 30 to 35 people had gathered at Multan's Nawan Shaher Chowk and had blocked the road, causing disruption of traffic.
The protesters, which reportedly included the two brothers, had gathered on the call of Manzoor Pashteen and were chanting slogans against state institutions, especially the army, the FIR said.
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Among those named in the FIR are Rawal Asad, Fazeel Asghar, Samiullah, Mohammad Bilal, Mohammad Nadeem, Mamoon Khan, Khali Ahmed, Dr Saddam, Hazrat Bilal, Abdul Basit, Zabeehullah, Ismat Muslim, Nasrullah Khan, Momin Khan, Abdul Qadeer Khan, Asmatullah Kakar, Jahangir Khan, Abdul Wahid Khan, Habat Khan and Haji Rafique Kakar.
Aside from the two brothers, those nominated in the case had filed pre-arrest bail applications which were accepted by the Multan additional district and sessions judge Khalid Iqbal Khan today.
Crackdown against PTM activists
On Saturday, Lahore-based academic Dr Ammar Ali Jan was arrested from his residence for "leading a group of 100-150 people of the 'Pashtun Ittehad Movement' who had gathered on the call of Manzoor Pashteen" in the provincial capital's Liberty area. The academic was later released after receiving bail from the Model Town Katchery.
Also last week, rights activist Gulalai Ismail — along with 17 others associated with the group — was detained while protesting outside the National Press Club in Islamabad over the death of PTM leader Arman Loni. She was released following alleged intervention from senior members of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government at the centre.
Earlier on Jan 31, police had arrested six PTM activists from outside the Quetta Press Club during a protest demonstration against a bombing in Loralai which claimed the lives of nine people. Later, a sessions court in Quetta ordered the release of the six activists on bail.
PTM is a rights-based alliance that, besides calling for the de-mining of the former tribal areas and greater freedom of movement in the latter, has insisted on an end to the practices of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and unlawful detentions, and for their practitioners to be held to account within a truth and reconciliation framework.