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MNA Mohsin Dawar arrested from North Waziristan, remanded in CTD custody for 8 days

Updated May 30, 2019

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MNAs Ali Wazir (L) and Mohsin Dawar walk at the venue of a rally last year. Wazir was arrested on Sunday and Dawar was taken into custody on Thursday. — Reuters/File
MNAs Ali Wazir (L) and Mohsin Dawar walk at the venue of a rally last year. Wazir was arrested on Sunday and Dawar was taken into custody on Thursday. — Reuters/File

MNA Mohsin Dawar has been taken into custody by law enforcement personnel from Miranshah in North Waziristan, DawnNewsTV reported on Thursday.

According to informed sources, Dawar surrendered himself to the law and was subsequently produced before an anti-terrorism court in Bannu for physical remand.

The investigation officer of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Bannu requested the court for a 30-day police custody of the lawmaker. However, special ATC judge Babar Ali Khan after perusing the record remanded Dawar in police custody for eight days.

Police have been directed to re-produce the MNA before the court on June 7.

The arrest follows the Kharqamar clash on May 26, in which three people were killed and 15 others injured during an exchange of fire.

Moments before his arrest, Dawar in a video message recorded at a local gathering said he wanted a thorough probe into the Kharqamar incident and vowed to defend his innocence in the court.

The lawmaker said the people had saved him from arrest during the clash but that "attempts [were] underway" to arrest him after the incident as well.

He noted that a curfew had been imposed in Waziristan and his native village and the ones located near it had been surrounded by security forces.

"I cannot put the people through more trouble for myself," Dawar said, announcing that he would surrender to police.

According to the Army's media wing, Dawar and MNA Ali Wazir — both leaders of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) — were leading the group that "assaulted Kharqamar check post, Boyya, North Waziristan tribal district" on Sunday. "They wanted to exert pressure for the release of suspected terrorists' facilitator arrested the other day," the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) had said.

MNA Dawar and the PTM leadership, however, had denied that the group opened fire and accused the Army of initiating violence.

Read: 3 people killed, 5 soldiers injured in exchange of fire at check post in North Waziristan

Following the clash, Ali Wazir and eight others were arrested and subsequently remanded into Counter-Terrorism Department custody while Dawar, who had received minor injuries during the Kharqamar incident, was declared "at large".

An FIR was registered against the lawmakers and seven others; the charges have been framed under 7ATA (Section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act, 1997), Pakistan Penal Code 302 (murder), 324 (attempt to murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 120b (criminal conspiracy), and 109 (abetment to an offence).

The FIR said the protesters hurled stones at the army post and that armed supporters of Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar attacked the security post and opened fire.

According to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly 2007, the concerned magistrate or executive authority is bound to inform the NA Speaker whenever a member of the lower house is arrested or detained on a criminal charge or for a criminal offence.

It is not yet clear whether the Speaker had been informed of Wazir and Dawar's arrest. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan has been asked to look into the matter by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri.

Manzoor Pashteen meets Senate committee

A meeting was held on Thursday between Manzoor Pashteen, other PTM workers and members of a special Senate committee formed to address the problems of the aggrieved sections of the society.

"PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen came to meet Senate's committee of National Cohesion today. We have discussed and decided to form a 'Rabta committee'," said Senator Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif on Twitter. The committee will comprise three representatives from PTM and five from Senate, "in order to resolve current and future issues".

Pashteen informed the committee of his reservations regarding state institutions after which the panel decided to formulate its future strategy to address them. The committee also decided to inform state institutions about PTM's reservations.

The committee agreed that steps must be taken to remove complaints of PTM as well as other disgruntled groups.

Speaking to the media after the meeting ended, Barrister Saif said that the committee had received "positive indications" from the PTM delegation.

He said that the PTM had demanded medical facilities for those who had been injured in the Waziristan incident, including MNA Ali Wazir. The delegation also insisted that steps should be taken to provide better facilities for Waziristan residents.

PTM also apprised the committee about the Waziristan incident and demanded that the first information report (FIR) be withdrawn. The panel told the PTM delegation that the committee did not have the power to order the release of workers who were detained but the demands can be raised in the Senate.

Barrister Saif said that the PTM delegation assured that the party will sit with the government for talks if its demands are fulfilled and issues are resolved.

He said that he will inform Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani about the proceedings. The committee will also contact the armed forces and play the role of a mediator between both parties to resolve conflicts.

The committee told PTM leadership not to make provocative speeches in their rallies and wave Pakistan's flag at their next protest. The PTM delegation said that it will talk to its committee about these recommendations. The delegation assured that they are ready to cooperate if authorities agree to talk.

Defence secy briefs National Assembly

Defence Secre­tary retired Lt Gen Ikramul Haq on Tuesday had informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence that the clash in North Waziristan’s Boyya area had its roots in the arrest of two suspects for their alleged involvement in the terrorist attack on an army check post last month.

Editorial: Authorities, PTM must come to the table to reiterate common goals of lasting peace and rule of law

The defence secretary said that MNA Dawar had started a sit-in on May 26 against the detention of two suspects in connection with last month’s attack on the army check post. He said the tribal elders (Mishran) and law enforcement agencies had reached an agreement to end the agitation and release one of the suspects. However, MNAs Dawar and Ali Wazir obstructed the deal and stopped the protesters from ending their agitation, the NA committee was informed.

Both parliamentarians had a heated exchange with the troops on the scene after which the protesters pelted stones and used weapons that left five soldiers wounded, he said, adding that the mob later tried to attack the post, compelling the troops to retaliate.

PPP asks NA speaker to issue Ali Wazir’s production order

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has asked National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to immediately issue the production order for MNA Ali Wazir to enable him to attend the assembly proceedings.

According to a handout issued by the party’s central media office on Tuesday, the PPP chairman expressed his “dismay” over the NA speaker not yet issuing the production order for Wazir.

PML-N’s parliamentary leader Khawaja Asif, while speaking during the National Assembly session at the start of the week, had questioned the silence of Prime Minister Imran Khan and other concerned people on the incident, and called for resolving the issue by “the civilians” through parliament.

He had suggested formation of a house committee to be headed by Speaker Asad Qaiser and comprising members from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to resolve the crisis through political means, instead of using force.

The firebrand PML-N leader from Sialkot had recalled that Pakistan had already suffered the East Pakistan tragedy, whereas Balochistan had been facing insurgencies since the 1950s due to past “mistakes”.

“There should be no attack on check posts. However, we should admit that there is a need to deal with these fault lines politically. The issue will not be resolved through use of force. Politicians should take charge.”