Mohsin Dawar (R), a PTM member of parliament from the North Waziristan tribal district, addresses a media briefing along with Ali Wazir (L) and Afrasiab Khattak (C), leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, in Islamabad on January 27, 2020, after the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen, chief of the Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM).  - A charismatic Pashtun rights leader who repeatedly accused the powerful military of abuse has been arrested in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar, police said on January 27. (Photo by Farooq NAEEM / AFP)

Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader and MNA Mohsin Dawar on Wednesday morning confirmed he had been released from jail, adding that other protesters remained in custody, a day after they were arrested from outside Islamabad’s National Press Club.

Meanwhile, a case was registered against attendees of the protest on various charges including sedition. Dawar was not included in the first information report (FIR), a copy of which is available with Dawn.com.

According to police sources, Dawar was released because he had to appear before a court in Abbottabad today in connection with a case regarding the Kharqamar clash.

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.

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.

Published On Public Hours January 29th, 2020

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