Pakistani authorities react to Ghani’s remarks on Manzoor Pashteen

The Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affair, in a statement issued on Monday, January 27, said that President Ghani’s remarks on detention of Manzoor Pashteen is a clear sign of interference in Pakistan’s national affairs.

Following Mr. Pashteen detention by the Pakistani police, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani wrote in a tweet that he was troubled by the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen. He called on the Pakistani authorities to immediately release Manzoor Pashteen.

“We believe that such statements by President Ghani are not helpful to the promotion of good neighborly relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” said a spokesperson for Pakistan ministry of foreign affairs.

Mr. Pashteen, a former veterinary student, is a right activist, who became on the lead of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) two years ago. On Sunday, January 26, Pashteen was taken into custody in Peshawar along with nine PTM activists after they challenged the Pakistani army.

The PTM has become the most significant movement to challenge the Pakistani army. Previously, it launched several rallies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, demanding the Pakistani state to tighten rule of law in Pashtun areas and cut army’s interference in domestic issues of Pashtuns in Pakistan, mainly in KP.  

Amnesty International South Asia has also called for immediate release of Manzoor Pashteen.

“Manzoor Pashteen has been arbitrarily detained for exercising his human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. He must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Mr. Pashteen political action, however, is a controversial political topic in Afghanistan. Many Afghan activists have called on rights organization to do their best for his immediate release and a number of activists have scolded President Ghani for his double standard policy on rights activism. Critics say Ghani’s support for a Pashtun rights movement in Pakistan and his policies against the rights and identity groups at home show that he is hypocrite.

Many Afghan activists have expressed deep sympathy for Mr. Pashteen. A group of activists in central Bamyan province have launched protest, calling for immediate release of Manzoor Pashteen.   

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