Thousands of protesters have gathered in Pakistani and Afghan cities and towns to voice anger over the detention of an ethnic Pashtun rights activist in Pakistan.
Manzoor Pashteen, the leader of a civic rights group that has criticized the Pakistani military’s operations in the northwestern tribal regions, was detained in the city of Peshawar, and a court rejected his bail application on January 28.
The leader of the Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM) is accused of sedition, hate speech, incitement against the state, and criminal conspiracy.
Protesters rallied in Islamabad, Karachi, and in northwestern Pakistan to call for Pashteen’s release. Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, who are lawmakers and PTM members, were among those detained during the demonstration outside the National Press Club in the capital.
Pashteen’s detention also sparked protests outside the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul, as well as in seven provinces in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan: Nangarhar, Kunar, Logar, Bamyan, Khost, Uruzgan, and Kandahar.