Pak human rights lawyer Imaan Mazari sent to police remand in sedition case


Islamabad: Pakistani human rights lawyer Imaan Mazari and former lawmaker Ali Wazir were sent to a three-day police remand in a sedition case by an anti-terrorism court here on Monday.

Imaan, the daughter of former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, and Wazir were arrested Sunday early morning by Islamabad police, two days after they participated in a protest organised by the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), which advocates the rights of ethnic Pashtuns.

Imaan addressed in Islamabad a rally of the PTM, a group of ethnic Pushtu-speaking activists highly critical of the Pakistan Army, and criticised the powerful military establishment.

The authorities wanted both of them as part of an ongoing investigation. It alleged that the two were involved in unlawful gathering, resistance and “interference in state affairs”.

As Mazari and Wazir were presented before the Islamabad Anti-terrorism Court, the judge ordered the authorities to produce the accused on August 24 again.

On Sunday, the two were presented in the court of Judicial Magistrate Ihtasham Alam Khan. According to the detailed court order, the investigating officer requested a 10-day physical remand in the sedition case, registered under Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.

The judge had granted one day’s remand and ordered police to present the two before an anti-terrorism court on Monday.

Subsequently, the two were produced by police in the court of ATC judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain earlier in the day.

Imaan’s legal team argued that police had already been given one-day remand of her client but it did not yet find anything against her.

Wazir insisted that “nothing wrong” was stated during the public meeting.

After hearing the arguments, the court reserved its verdict and subsequently, granted police three-day physical remand of Imaan and Wazir.

According to the first information report (FIR) filed against Imaan and Wazir, the two were arrested for staging a sit-in, resistance and interference in state affairs.

The FIR stated that 700 to 800 people participated in the sit-in and several were armed with sticks and some even with weapons as they attempted to defy the authorities and march on the capital, according to a report in The Express Tribune newspaper.

The report claimed the main highway, GT Road, was blocked by the protestors who proceeded to hold a rally in the middle of the road.

It said that when the security personnel tried to stop the participants, they attacked a government vehicle, engaged in altercations with the authorities and even managed to forcefully take an anti-riot kit away from an officer.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned Imaan’s arrest and demanded her immediate and unconditional release.

It termed the Islamabad Police’s act as “unacceptable”.

Pakistani authorities in recent months have cracked down against dissent. Former prime minister Imran Khan is also serving a three-year jail term after he was sentenced by a court in a corruption case earlier this month.

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