Pashtun leaders arrest triggers protests in Washington

Several activists rallied in front of the residence of the Ambassador to Pakistan in Washington D.C on January 09 against the arrest of lawmakers and leaders of a civil rights movement, campaigning for Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun minority. Members of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) in the Washington Metro area called for the demonstrations after the authorities announced that Dr Said Alam Mehsud and Ali Wazir were being prosecuted on anti-state charges. The protestors rejected the accusation and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the leaders. Ali Wazir, a sitting Member of National Assembly (MNA, the Pakistani Parliament), and a senior leader of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) was arrested in the northwestern city of Peshawar on December 16 after a case was lodged in the port city of Karachi. He is accused of making anti-state comments during an unsanctioned rally in the city on December 6. Another prominent Pashtun voice, Dr Said Alam Mehsud was also arrested while participating in a protest against the arrest Ali Wazir.