KARACHI, April 21 (PR): The Awami Workers Party (AWP) federal general secretary Akhtar Hussain Advocate has condemned the detention of party central President Fanoos Gujjar, deputy general-secretary Ismat Shajehan and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leaders Ali Wazir, Bilal Mandokhel and others by the Punjab police.
In response to the arrests of AWP and PTM leadership, Akhtar Hussain in a statement late Saturday night demanded the Punjab government to immediately release the AWP and PTM leaders
He warned that if our leadership is not released by Sunday morning, the party will give a call for countrywide protest against the police action. He urged all AWP national chapters and units to register their protest outside their respective press clubs at 4pm.
The AWP endorses Manzoor Pashteen’s call to attend PTM’s Lahore public meeting and calls on all party members and sympathizers who can make it to Lahore to attend in solidarity.
“Peaceful protest is the fundamental right of every citizen. This shows the frustration of the establishment. Instead of addressing the genuine issues of the PTM, the Punjab police have resorted to illegal acts and coercive methods to hush up people’s movement, Hussain said.
He reiterated AWP support for people’s movements across the country and abroad for their genuine rights.
“We will continue to stand up in solidarity with the PTM and all other democratic movements for their rights across Pakistan,” he said.
He endorsed the call by PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen for attending the rally at Mochi Darwaza, Lahore on Sunday in full force.
Dr Ammar Ali Jan, who himself has been victimized and sacked from his job in Punjab University for promoting debate on the national question, other issues, has also expressed Shock over the highhandedness of the police against AWP and PTM leaders.
“It is shocking news! After granting permission to hold a rally in Lahore, the Punjab Police have arrested the senior leadership of the PTM. The symbolism of Pashtun movement leaders arrested in the heart of Punjab, when they held peaceful rallies all across Pakistan, will haunt us for a long time”, Jan said. This moronic behaviour will do us no good but can create irreparable damage to our federation.
My heart bleeds for Pakistan. This is a major blunder. As a Lahori, I offer my sincerest apologies to my Pashtun brethren for this humiliating treatment at the hands of the Punjab Police. I request the Punjab government to release the arrested leaders, offer an unconditional apology and facilitate their peaceful rally tomorrow. Nothing less than that will undo the damage that has been done by this shameful action of the Punjab Police!
Meanwhile, the AWP UK chapter has also condemned the arrest of AWP and PTM leaders and demanded their immediate release.
The women platform of Islamabad Girls at Dhaba has also condemned the police action and asked its members to show solidarity with the PTM. The organization condemned the mainstream media blackout and censorship of articles about the movement. “It is pathetic and we need to create space for dissent and alternative narrative. Let’s be on the right side of history!,” it posted on its Facebook page.