Ali Wazir and Imaan Mazari Detained After PTM Rally; Given Three-day Remand

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Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement’s (PTM) leader, Ali Wazir, and lawyer and human rights advocate, Imaan Mazari, have been placed on a three-day physical remand following an order by Islamabad’s anti-terrorism court. Both were arrested on Sunday after their participation in a PTM rally in Islamabad’s Tarnol area.

The court, presided over by Judge Abul Hasanat Zulqarnain, convened on Monday to deliberate on the charges brought against them. These charges accuse the duo of defaming state institutions and inciting the public.

According to Tarnol police station records, a case has been registered against Mazari for her remarks against state institutions and incitement, while the Counter-Terrorism Department alleges both Mazari and Wazir, along with other PTM leaders, encouraged rebellion, war, civil disobedience, and armed struggle.

Imaan Mazari’s lawyer, Zainab Janjua, opposed the remand, highlighting that her client had been in police custody for a day without being questioned. Furthermore, she noted that Mazari’s electronic devices were seized during a raid on her residence.

Prosecution lawyer, Raja Naveed, presented excerpts from Mazari’s speech at the rally, suggesting anti-state sentiments. He quoted her speech, drawing attention to phrases such as “the real terrorists are sitting in GHQ” and her assertion that “Behind this terrorism is the uniform.”

The investigation’s rationale for the remand centers on the need for voice matching and photogrammetry tests on the accused. In response, Janjua stated that her client had been detained for 24 hours, but no such tests had been conducted.

Imaan Mazari’s arrest has drawn sharp reactions. Shireen Mazari, Iman’s mother and former federal minister for human rights, took to social media to describe the arrest. She claimed law enforcement had forcefully entered their home, confiscating belongings and arresting Iman without proper procedure. She labeled the act as “state fascism.” The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and various activists have also publicly criticized the arrest.

Both Mazari and Wazir have had past legal confrontations. Notably, Mazari had previously criticized a former Army Chief, leading to a case that was later dismissed by the Islamabad High Court.

Imaan Mazari’s vocal stance on enforced disappearances in Balochistan, combined with her recent arrest, raises questions about the broader context of her detention. Previously, she had expressed concerns about veiled threats related to her advocacy on Balochistan issues. This adds another layer of complexity to the recent events and underscores the broader challenges facing activists in Pakistan.

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