Entry of PTM chief banned in AJK

Published December 23, 2021
A photo of Pashtoon Tahafuz Movement leader Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen. — Aima Khosa/File
A photo of Pashtoon Tahafuz Movement leader Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen. — Aima Khosa/File

MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government on Wednesday clamped a ban on Pashtoon Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen’s entry and speech in the territorial jurisdiction of the region.

The AJK government’s move drew instant criticism from a former information minister belonging to opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

According to a notification issued by the AJK home department, the ban was imposed on Mr Pashteen with immediate effect under section 5 of the Maintenance of Public Order Act, 1985, for three months.

Mr Pashteen was invited by a faction of National Students Federation, a pro-independence organisation, to address its convention in Kotli on Dec 25 as the chief guest.

Earlier in the day, at a press conference in Kotli, some activists of an obscure organisation by the name of Tehreek-i-Jawanan-Kashmir called upon the AJK government to ban the entry of Mr Pashteen “to arrest propagation of India-sponsored narratives in the territory”.

However, on social media many activists criticised the government’s embargo on freedom of speech and expression.

“We condemn the PTI government in strong words for banning Manzoor Pashteen’s entry and speech in Azad Kashmir. Imposing restrictions on freedom of expression and speech is a fascist practice. Manzoor Pashteen! We are ashamed,” tweeted Mushtaq Minhas, the former AJK information minister and member of the PML-N organising committee.

“Manzoor Pashteen is the voice of millions of people. Restricting his entry to Azad Jammu and Kashmir is the worst step. Notwithstanding political differences [with Mr Pashteen] we condemn such cowardly steps...,” tweeted Nasira Khan Sudhozai, a PML-N activist.

Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2021

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