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Editorial: Right to protest

You have the right to speak. It’s not what you say—it’s the way that you say it. Your right to express your opinion is protected no matter what beliefs you hold. What matters is how you use that right. If you organize a protest that causes serious disruption, the government may be able to intervene. But with a few notable exceptions, nobody can restrict your rights simply because they don’t like what you say. Last Monday, the Pakistani military had arrested Manzoor Pashteen, the leader of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement – grassroots fighting for the rights of Pakhtons and Baluches that miserably violated by the Pakistani army establishment since many years. Pashteen is not the only who arrested for asking justice and equal rights. Many other people are behind bars for asking justice by the country’s military establishment that has dictated the country since decades. A number of rights defenders and journalists, who were fighting for freedom and rights, have been taken into custody by the military. Moreover, last year, the army has stabbed Arman Loni, a member of PTM to death. The cruelly has still kept on as later on Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, members of PTM were temporary arrested in an attempt to suffocate their voice. Dawar is a member of the country’s parliament and he was triggered into police vain in the rudest way. None of them have committed any crime but the first rudiments in the history, standing against the cruelty of the military—an establishment that has committed numerous atrocity against the civilians. To go further, PTM leaders and its members’ arrest have brought thousands and thousands of people on the streets in several worldwide countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they had demanded the immediate release of PTM leader. This had also faced mockery remarks by Pakistani officials, who considered the protest as interruption in the country’s affairs. The truth is that standing against injustice and violation of human rights is the responsibility of every human in this world – it really doesn’t matter what religion you practice or where you live, and what race you belong to. People across the world have the rights to criticize the dictatorship of the governments and express opinions through peaceful marches. Instead of criticizing Afghanistan’s people who staged peaceful marches against the arrest of Pashteen, the Pakistani government should pay attention to its human rights affairs and pave a safe ground for the rights defenders. People in Pakistan must have the right to speak without fear and intimidation. The country must melt away from its dictatorship and democracy to be preserved in its through means and way.

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