Peshawar court rejects Manzoor Pashteen's bail request, orders transfer to DI Khan jail

Published January 28, 2020
A local court in Peshawar on Tuesday ordered that Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen be shifted to Dera Ismail Khan, a day after he was arrested and sent to Peshawar Central Jail on a 14-day judicial remand. — Photo provided by author/File
A local court in Peshawar on Tuesday ordered that Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen be shifted to Dera Ismail Khan, a day after he was arrested and sent to Peshawar Central Jail on a 14-day judicial remand. — Photo provided by author/File

A Peshawar court on Tuesday ordered Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen's transfer to a Dera Ismail Khan jail, a day after he was arrested and sent to Peshawar Central Jail on a 14-day judicial remand.

District and sessions judge Muhammad Younis accepted the DI Khan police's request for permission to shift the PTM chief to DI Khan, where a first information report (FIR) has been registered against him.

Pashteen, who was not presented in court during today's proceedings, was represented by his lawyers including Shahab Khattak, Farhat Afridi and Advocate Fazl. Their request of a transit bail for Pashteen was rejected by the court.

After Pashteen is shifted to DI Khan, he is expected to be presented before a judicial magistrate for physical remand.

The PTM chief was arrested on Monday from Peshawar's Shaheen Town.

According to police, a case was registered against the PTM chief at the City Police Station in DI Khan on January 18 under sections 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 120-B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 124 (sedition), and 123-A (condemning the creation of the country and advocating the abolishment of its sovereignty) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

According to the FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Pashteen and other PTM leaders had attended a gathering on January 18 in DI Khan where the PTM chief had allegedly said that the 1973 Constitution violated basic human rights. The FIR added that Pashteen also made derogatory remarks about the state.

Police had also arrested nine other PTM workers who were identified as Muhammad Salam, Abdul Hameed, Idrees, Bilal, Mohib, Sajjadul Hassan, Aimal, Farooq and Muhammad Salman.

Following Pashteen's arrest, PTM leaders and MNAs Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir condemned the action, saying that instead of addressing the group's grievances, the state had resorted to arresting its leader.

Dawar said he had contacted the police to ask on what grounds Pashteen had been arrested but added that authorities did not give any reasons and refused to cooperate.

Terming the arrest as an "abduction", Dawar had said: "We think that Manzoor Pashteen has been arrested for the speech he delivered in Bannu in which he said he will gather all Pashtun leaders." He urged PTM workers to stay "peaceful like always" and announced that the group will hold protests across the country as well as abroad on Tuesday.

PTM movement

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.

The party has been critical of the state's policies in the country's tribal belt, where a massive operation against terrorists was conducted in recent times leading to large-scale displacement and enforced disappearances.

PTM's leaders, in particular its elected members to the National Assembly, have come under fire for pursuing the release of individuals detained by authorities without due process. The army alleges the party of running an anti-national agenda and for playing into the hands of the state's enemies.

Last year, two of PTM's MNAs — Dawar and Wazir — were arrested by police after a protest gathering in Kharqamar for allegedly using violence and clashing with army personnel. The party while rejecting these allegations, insisted that theirs is a peaceful struggle for the rights of people from the country's tribal belt.


Additional input by Inamullah Khattak.

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