Pashtun lawmaker had been in hiding following a clash between PTM activists and the military
A parliamentarian linked to a violent weekend clash between Pashtun activists and security forces was taken into custody on Thursday, officials said.
Moshin Dawar—a lawmaker and leading member of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM)—had been in hiding for days following the fatal incident on Sunday in a restive tribal region along the Afghan border where he was leading a protest against alleged abuses by the military.
“He has been charged with murder, attempted murder, attacking law enforcement personnel, disturbing law and order, and terrorism,” an official in Bannu told AFP on the condition of anonymity.
Provincial information minister Shaukat Yousafzai confirmed the arrest.
A video released by PTM on Twitter on Thursday afternoon showed Dawar saying he planned to turn himself into officials. “I do not want to put my people in difficulty to escape their arrest,” said Dawar. “I am requesting the nation to be resilient and strong. This is a long struggle,” he added.
Dawar is the second parliamentarian to be arrested in connection with the clash after PTM leader Ali Wazir was taken into custody on Sunday.
The military said at least three activists were shot dead in the incident after protesters attacked their checkpoint. The PTM leadership disputed that, saying at least 13 people were killed after security forces fired into an unarmed crowd.
International rights groups have called for an independent probe into the incident, with Human Rights Watch on Thursday demanding a “prompt, transparent, and impartial investigation by Pakistani authorities.”
The clash follows months of rising tensions between the two sides, with the military publicly warning PTM leaders to end their criticism of Pakistan’s armed forces’ conduct during their fight against militancy.
Since bursting onto the scene last year, the PTM has rattled Pakistan’s military establishment, but a far-reaching media blackout has kept news and images of their rallies off TV screens nationwide. Despite the pushback, the PTM has continued to demand action—including investigations into disappearances and extrajudicial killings and an end to what it says is undue harassment of Pashtuns at security checkpoints.
Sunday’s incident occurred in North Waziristan, where the movement is believed to draw much of its support. The area was once plagued by militancy, and Washington pressured Pakistan for years to act against Islamist groups based there.
The Army has carried out multiple operations in North Waziristan and other tribal regions, and security—both there and across Pakistan—has dramatically improved in recent years. However, the PTM claims the operations came at a heavy price because of alleged abuses.