PESHAWAR: Swat police registered cases of ‘treason’ against a number of persons who arranged and led a protest against military checkposts at Mingora and Khawazakhela on Sunday.
A police official at Khawazakhela police station confirmed registration of cases against six persons whereas staff at the Mingora Police Station are reluctant to share the details. However, there are reports of not only of registration of FIR against several persons but even a number of them being arrested.
According to Rahmat Ali, a police official at Khawazakhela police station, an FIR under Sections 7 ATA, 9 ATA, 124 A, 186, 341, 189, 147 and 194 registered against Bacha Gul, Aimal Khan, Ahmad Shah, Izhar, Hussain Shah, and Latif. He said nothing about the arrests made in accordance with the FIR.
The police official said that all these sections pertained to treason against the state and state institutions as well as criticising security forces and other law enforcement agencies.
Local civil society activists arranged a protest against increasing number of military checkpoints and the maltreatment of civilians by the security personnel in Mingora city and Khawazakhela town.
Hundreds of people participated in the procession as they chanted slogans in favour of peace and urging the security forces to respect their dignity. They demanded early winding off all military check posts in Swat and transfer of power to civil administration.
Meanwhile, civil society activists in Swat bashed the local police on Monday for registering an FIR against six people who took part in a protest against alleged excessive checking at security checkposts.
Talking to reporters, a social activist Sohail Asghar said, “The locals did not protest against checkposts but against unnecessary strict checking by the security forces. It is quite surprising that the police registered an FIR under the ATA against the protestors”
All security checkposts have been on high alert after a suicide blast targeted the army unit’s sports area in Kabal tehsil of the valley on February 4. As a result, commuters have been facing a lot of problems while going to schools, hospitals or offices.
According to a Saidu Sharif-based lawyer, namely Attaullah Jan, “It was shocking to read the content of the FIR which paved the way for police to file cases against the protestors under the Anti-Terrorism Act.” The people booked by the police are the same people who have given the most sacrifices against terrorism and were totally against an extremist mindset, he added.
In addition, Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai, condemned the arrests and demanded the immediate withdrawal of cases against the protestors. “The civil and military administration should communicate effectively to resolve the problems being faced by the people of Swat, rather than applying intimidating tactics against the local population.”
Civil society members in Swat also threatened to launch a protest if the government failed to withdraw the FIR against the six protestors.