The PTM leader will be transferred to jail in Dera Ismail Khan, where a FIR has been registered against him
A court in Peshawar on Tuesday directed authorities to transfer Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen to jail in Dera Ismail Khan, a day after he was taken into custody on a 14-day judicial remand.
Accepting the DI Khan police’s request to transfer Pashteen to DI Khan on a first information report accusing him of sedition and incitement, the district and sessions court also rejected a plea by the accused for transit bail.
The PTM chief was arrested on Monday after a First Information Report was registered against him in DI Khan 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.
The FIR alleges Pashteen, along with other leaders of the PTM, had claimed the 1973 Constitution violated basic human rights during a speech in DI Khan on Jan. 18. It also claims he passed derogatory remarks about the state of Pakistan.
In addition to the PTM leader, several workers of the civil rights movement have also been taken into custody. Local media has identified these men as Muhammad Salam, Abdul Hameed, Idrees, Bilal, Mohib, Sajjadul Hassan, Aimal, Farooq and Muhammad Salman.
Following the PTM leader’s arrest, the movement’s remaining leadership—including lawmakers Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir—have announced protests in various parts of the country to demand his release. On Twitter, Dawar said demonstrations would be held in Mir Ali, Tank, Miranshah, Zhob and Islamabad. Supporters of the PTM also announced a protest in Lahore at Liberty Chowk in the evening.
The PTM rose to prominence in February 2018 following the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud in Karachi. As protests spread nationwide, the rights-based alliance—which seeks an end to enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, unlawful detentions, and accountability for all those found complicit in these activities—came under fire from the military, which has accused the group of colluding with “enemy forces” to destabilize the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, prior to his victory in the 2018 general elections, had vowed to support the PTM’s cause and advance their demands. Since his election, he has noticeably backtracked on those claims, with senior government officials urging the group to avoid any unrest and commit to dialogue. Pashteen’s arrest a day after Defense Minister Pervez Khattak renewed calls for dialogue risks derailing any progress toward that goal.
Last year, PTM lawmakers Dawar and Ali Wazir were arrested for allegedly using violence and clashing with Army personnel. The party has repeatedly rejected these allegations, saying their group believes in a peaceful struggle and has never resorted to any violence.