AT Kabul: Balochistan’s caretaker Minister for Information, Jan Achakzai, declared on Tuesday that the provincial government had securely handed over Manzoor Pashteen, the chief of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), to the Dera Ismail Khan police. Pashteen was apprehended in Chaman the previous day by Levies and police personnel amid disputed claims of firing by his party and local police.
Chaman Deputy Commissioner Raja Athar Abbas explained that Pashteen was arrested in connection with alleged gunshots fired at the police from his vehicle, as well as a ban on his entry into Balochistan. However, PTM countered, alleging that law enforcement agencies had opened fire on Pashteen’s vehicle during his journey from Chaman to Turbat.
In response, Minister Achakzai refuted PTM’s claims, asserting that Pashteen had been expelled from Balochistan after the arrest and handed over to DI Khan police. He accused Pashteen’s bodyguard of firing shots in front of the Chaman Press Club, resulting in injuries to a woman and a child.
Achakzai highlighted that youth and civil society members in Balochistan were demanding a ban on PTM, with some declaring the organization a terrorist entity through social media. He stated, “The provincial government is closely viewing this situation and will take a strict decision if the need arises. The Balochistan government is mulling a ban on PTM in the province.”
The minister also noted Pashteen’s violation of a ban on his entry into Balochistan, emphasizing his participation in protests in Chaman. Pashteen had announced joining a protest against the alleged extrajudicial killing of Balaach Balaach Mola Bakhsh in Turbat.
Jan Achakzai had previously labeled PTM as an “anti-Pakistan organization.” Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed alarm over Pashteen’s arrest, calling for an impartial inquiry and cessation of unwarranted antagonism against PTM leaders, emphasizing the importance of hearing their legitimate grievances fairly.