LAHORE: Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen has been booked on charges of treason and terrorism by the Punjab police following his anti-military speech at the Asma Jahangir Conference on Sunday.
A first information report (FIR) registered on the complaint of citizen Naeeem Mirza on Monday stated that Pashteen hurled baseless allegations at the security agencies while his supporters chanted slogans against the institutions during the event held in Lahore at a private hotel.
Denouncing the FIR, the PTM chief said in a tweet, “The voices against oppression cannot be suppressed through FIRs, prisons or propaganda, but the only solution is to give justice”.
Reacting to the FIR registered against Pashteen, Mohsin Dawar – a member of the National Assembly – wrote on his official Twitter handle: “The FIR filed against Manzoor Pashteen for his speech at the Asma Jahangir Conference is beyond shameful.”
Many others have said far more in recent protests than what Manzoor said in his speech, he added. “The ridiculous FIR should be withdrawn.”
Earlier today, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the “unjustified sloganeering” against the Pakistan army at the Asma Jahangir Conference held in Lahore, saying it was unfortunate that such forums were being used to target the institutions.
The premier’s condemnation has come after some people in the audience started shouting slogans against the army in the presence of key ministers, legal eagles and journalists on Sunday.
The prime minister said that the coalition government and his party are firmly committed to ensuring the freedom of expression of every citizen as per the Constitution but regretted that the conference was used for partisan political interests.
“It is unfortunate that such forums are being used to target state institutions, especially the armed forces, for partisan political interests,” PM Shehbaz said in a statement issued hours before he departed for Saudi Arabia to attend Saudi Future Investment Initiative Summit.
The premier said that the government itself provides the citizens with forums where they can freely express their differing views and opinions on matters of public importance but using a forum like Asma Jahangir Conference for unjustified sloganeering against the army was unfortunate when the “officers and men of armed forces are sacrificing their lives to save the country from internal and external threats”.