An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad on Thursday handed over Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen in police custody for seven days.
Pashteen was arrested in Balochistan’s Chaman on December 4 by Levies and police personnel from the Gudhamo area on disputed claims of firing by his party and local police.
Police claimed the PTM chief was arrested after gunshots were fired at police from his vehicle, while Pashteen’s party had alleged that law enforcement agencies fired at his vehicle when he was on his way from Chaman to Turbat.
Last week, Pahsteen had announced joining the protest against the alleged extrajudicial killing of Balaach Mola Bakhsh in Turbat. The protest has been going on for more than a week after CTD claimed to have killed Bakhsh, along with three other men, in an encounter on November 24.
On Tuesday, Balochistan caretaker Minister for Information Jan Achakzai said Pashteen had been “safely handed over” to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dera Ismail Khan police. He said the PTM chief was expelled from Balochistan and the provincial government was mulling banning the party.
However, in a post on X (formerly Twitter) yesterday, lawmaker Mohsin Dawar said Pashteen was not produced before any court since his arrest on Dec 4.
“He remains forcibly disappeared. The state is violating the law openly and brazenly. We demand the immediate production of Manzoor in court,” Dawar added.
Today, Pashteen was produced before the court of Abual Hasnat Mohammad Zulqarnain amid tight security.
At the outset of the hearing, the police sought the PTM chief’s seven-day physical remand. However, Pashteen’s lawyer argued that there were no grounds for handing him over to the police.
“Holding rallies is our right. Pashteen’s vehicle was fired at in Balochistan,” he said, adding that the former was “kidnapped” from Chaman and presented in court today after three days.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the court approved Pashteen’s seven-day physical remand.