Mohsin Dawar released, 23 activists sent to jail | Pakistan Today

Mohsin Dawar released, 23 activists sent to jail

–North Waziristan lawmaker denounces arrests, says will keep on protesting till everyone is released

–PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif terms police’s treatment of MNA Dawar, other activists as ‘deplorable’

ISLAMABAD: Judicial magistrate Mohammad Shoaib Akhtar on Wednesday released Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and North Waziristan lawmaker Moshin Dawar, Awami Workers Party (AWP) leader Ismat Shahjahan and four others for taking part in a protest against the arrest of PTM chief Manzoor Pashteen while sending 23 others to Adiala Jail on judicial remand.

The 23 attendees of the protest were presented before the judicial magistrate in a local court in Islamabad. During the proceedings, defence counsel lawyer Asad Jamal told the court that the protesters had not caused any destruction or posed any sort of resistance during the protest.

He alleged that under pressure, the police had registered a case against the peaceful protesters.

“The police case is based in bad faith. Sections 505-A (defaming army), 505-B (statements conducing to public mischief) and 124-A (sedition) [of the Pakistan Penal Code] do not apply,” he said, adding: “Police say that slogans were chanted against forces. Who was leading the chants? What evidence does the police have?”

Meanwhile, the police said they still have to make a challan and collect some evidence. Sending the 23 individuals to Adiala Jail, the judicial magistrate ordered that they be presented again on February 12.

On Tuesday, Islamabad police had arrested Dawar and 28 other PTM workers from outside the press club where they had gathered to stage a protest against the arrest of the group’s chief, Manzoor Pashteen, who was arrested from Peshawar on Monday and shifted to Dera Ismail Khan in a ‘sedition’ case pertaining to a speech he made in Dera Ismail Khan on Jan 18.

DAWAR DENOUNCES STATES’S HIGH-HANDEDNESS:

In a post on Twitter, Dawar said the PTM was protesting against the arrest of Pashteen during which they were arrested.

“There wasn’t a single report of violence by protesters from around the world. I attended the protest in Islamabad and the protesters here were as peaceful as in the other places,” he said.

In a subsequent tweet, he added: “However, the state reminded us once again that our rights don’t mean much as they didn’t bother to create even flimsy grounds for our arrests. I was dragged along with other comrades of PTM and [Awami Workers Party] AWP including Ismat Shahjahan, Ammar Rashid and many others.”

The MNA said that following the arrests they were distributed to various police stations.

“I was told by the police that they were setting me free. I told them that I will not go until all the others are set free as well. Then they came back again, telling me that they will set all free so I decided to leave,” he wrote.

Dawar, however, said he had since found out that some of the protesters were still in jail, adding that after getting a full idea of the number of protesters still in custody, they would protest until all were released.

“As our freedoms are shrinking silence is not an option. The fight to win back our right to dissent is a common cause that transcends ethnicities and beliefs. Speak up and be counted, your life means nothing if you don’t have the freedom to disagree,” he concluded.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief and National Assembly Opposition Leader, Shehbaz Sharif, condemned the use of force by the capital police.

“Peaceful protest is fundamental human right & central to growth of democracy. Constitution clearly provides framework for resolution of all disputes through dialogue & engagement. Police’s treatment of MNA Mohsin Dawar, Ammar Rashid & their companions was unwarranted & deplorable,” the PML-N president tweeted.

‘SEDITION’ CASE:

Meanwhile, a FIR was registered at Islamabad’s Kohsar Police Station against the protesters under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 353 (assault on public servant), 147 (rioting),149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offense committed in prosecution of common object), 505-A (defaming army), 505-B (statements conducing to public mischief), 124-A (sedition), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 186 (obstructing public servant from discharging duties) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The case, registered on Tuesday, named 23 individuals but did not include Dawar.

As per the FIR, registered by City Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza Chandio, the protesters were informed that Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was imposed in the Islamabad territory as a result of which five or more than five people are not allowed to gather. It stated, however, the protesters had chanted slogans against the Pakistan Army and the state and had chanted slogans in favor of Pashteen. They had also blocked a road.

The protests were held a day after Pashteen was arrested on Monday from Peshawar’s Shaheen Town and was sent to the city’s central jail on a 14-day judicial remand. He was shifted to Dera Ismail Khan on the orders of a local court on Tuesday.



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