The leader of a Pakistan ethnic group has been detained after authorities said armed men in his vehicle opened fire on police.
Raja Athar Abbas, the deputy commissioner of the northcentral city of Chaman, which sits on the border with Afghanistan, said that Manzoor Pashteen was arrested in connection with the shooting incident, as well as for violating a ban on entering Balochistan province.
Pashteen is the head and co-founder of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, a loose network of Pashtun activists demanding equal rights and protections for minority Pashtuns in Pakistan.
The PTM issued a statement alleging Pashteen’s vehicle was fired at by law enforcement agencies while he was traveling from Chaman to the nearby city of Turbat, where he was scheduled to address a protest. The statement said one woman is being treated at a hospital after she was injured in the shooting.
The PTM says Pashteen and his entourage returned to Chaman and surrendered to authorities.
Pashtuns make up about 15% to 18% of Pakistan’s population, mostly in the insurgency- and counterinsurgency-stricken province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along the porous border with Afghanistan.
Members and supporters of the PTM claim that their leaders are incarcerated, harassed and even eliminated by government forces.
Several of them have been arrested over the past two years for making incendiary remarks against state institutions.
“There is no justice for Pashtuns in Pakistan,” Pashteen told VOA last year. “When we demand our rights, equal rights, and protest against this colonial-like treatment of our people, we’re thrown [in]to jails indefinitely.”
Source : VOA News