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Baloch freedom struggle, disharmony among Muslims reason for crackdown on Pashtuns, says Pak nuclear scientist

ANI  |  Asia 

A top Pakistani scientist has blamed disharmony in his country and freedom movement in Balochistan as the reason for the controversial arrest of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen.

"If Muslims could have lived in peace together, we would not have separatist movements in Balochistan. You would not have Manzoor Pashteen arrested and all the PTM leadership (would not have been) arrested today," said Pervez Hoodbhoy.

What is more interesting is, the nuclear physicist made the comments in Karachi during a literary fest, "Adab Festival." Hoodbhoy is the same Pakistani scientist, who in 2017, had said that his country was becoming a 'fascist religious state.'

His latest comments assume significance as thousands of PTM activists and supporters held peaceful rallies in Loralai district in Balochistan and Karachi demanding the release of Pashteen.

Twenty-seven-year-old human rights activist and founder of PTM, Pashteen was arrested last month along with nine other members of the organisation and sent to 14-day judicial remand by the magistrate on the charges of sedition.

His arrest drew tens of thousands to rally across cities around Pakistan and worldwide, accusing the government and the Army of human rights abuses. It even drew criticism from European Foundation for South Asia Studies (EFSAS) -- a European think-tank -- who noted in its commentary that the arrest has engendered shock and dismay across Pakistan, as also internationally.

Videos shared on social media under the hashtag #PashtunLongMarch2Loralai showed a large number of protesters participating in the rallies.

The PTM is a social movement that exposes the military offences and brings to the front the issues which continue to plague the locals including enforced disappearances and fake encounters by the state.

A Pashtun activist, Fazal ur Rehman Afridi condemned the arrest of Pashteen and said that while Pakistan is championing for the rights of the Kashmiris, the country itself is violating the fundamental human rights of its own minorities which is a "show of fascism".

"Pakistan which is championing for the rights of the Kashmiri people is itself violating the fundamental human rights of the Pashtun people, especially people like Mazooor Pashteen, who is a renowned human rights activist," said Afridi, Europe organiser of PTM.

"They treat Pashtun people like second class citizens. After Pashteen's arrest, the Pashtun people all over the have united against Pakistan. They have condemned it and organised numerous protests," he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 11 2020. 09:47 IST
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