Pak Puts Hurdles on Pashtun Leader

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Pashteen was invited by a faction of National Students Federation to address its convention in Kotli on December 25 as the chief guest ..writes Sanjeev Sharma

Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) government has clamped a ban on Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen’s entry and speech in the territorial jurisdiction of the region.

The PoK government’s move drew instant criticism from a former information minister belonging to opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Dawn reported.

According to a notification issued by the home department, the ban was imposed on Pashteen with immediate effect under section 5 of the Maintenance of Public Order Act, 1985, for three months.

Pashteen was invited by a faction of National Students Federation to address its convention in Kotli on December 25 as the chief guest, the report said.

Earlier in the day, at a press conference in Kotli, some activists of an obscure organisation by the name of Tehreek-i-Jawanan-Kashmir called upon the government to ban the entry of Pashteen “to arrest propagation of India-sponsored narratives in the territory”.

However, on social media many activists criticised the government’s embargo on freedom of speech and expression.

“We condemn the PTI government in strong words for banning Manzoor Pashteen’s entry and speech. Imposing restrictions on freedom of expression and speech is a fascist practice. Manzoor Pashteen! We are ashamed,” tweeted Mushtaq Minhas, the former information minister and member of the PML-N organising committee, the report said.

“Manzoor Pashteen is the voice of millions of people. Restricting his entry is the worst step. Notwithstanding political differences (with Mr Pashteen) we condemn such cowardly steps…,” tweeted Nasira Khan Sudhozai, a PML-N activist.

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