Pakistani authorities released anti-state parliamentarian and self-proclaimed civil rights activist, Mohsin Dawar, hours after detaining him during a protest, a police official said Wednesday, but more than 20 other demonstrators held with him remained in custody.
Mohsin Dawar, a sitting MP and a senior member of the Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM) was detained along with 23 supporters on Tuesday when he was leading a demonstration in Islamabad against the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen, chief of the group.
Dawar was also allegedly involved in an armed attack on an army outpost in North Waziristan, last year, and was subsequently arrested and detained for months.
— Maleeha Hashmey (@MaleehaHashmey) May 28, 2019
A further 23 PTM members have been charged with incitement against state institutions such as the military, disturbing law and order, and hate speech.
“All 23 … will be presented before a magistrate today and will be sent to jail later,” Zia Bajwa, spokesman for the Islamabad police said.
The PTM have consistently held protests against the Pakistan Army and are allegedly funded by foreign agencies to further the agenda of riling up unrest in Pakistan.
NWTD incident. Innocent PTM supporters / workers need care. Only few are inciting and using them against state institutions for vested agenda. No one will be allowed to undo the gains of decades long national struggle & sacrifices especially of brave Pakistani tribals.
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) May 26, 2019
The movement claims to be peaceful, but has been notable for its direct verbal attacks on the institutions in question.
Pashteen, the former veterinary student, was arrested on Monday in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Read more: PTM’s Gulalai Ismail arrested from Peshawar
He is facing charges including sedition, hate speech, incitement against the state, and criminal conspiracy.
PTM leaders have called on their supporters to stay calm after Pashteen’s arrest. His lawyer Asad Aziz Mehsud said Pashteen has been remanded in the district of Dera Ismail Khan, and will seek bail on Thursday.
GVS News Desk with additional input from AFP