MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government on Wednesday banned the entry of Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen within its jurisdiction and a notification has been issued to this effect.
The notification issued by the Section Officer, Home Department says that in exercise of powers conferred under section 5 of Maintenance of Public Order, Act 1985, the President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir has accorded approval to ban entry/speech of Manzoor Ahmed Pashteen, Chairman, Pashtoon Tahafuz Movement in territorial jurisdiction of AJK. This ban shall remain valid for period of three months effective immediately.
Meanwhile, according to a Dawn report, the AJK government’s move drew instant criticism from a former information minister belonging to opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Mr Pashteen was invited by a faction of National Students Federation, a pro-independence organisation, to address its convention in Kotli on Dec 25 as the chief guest.
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 AJK government to ban the entry of Mr 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 in Azad Kashmir. Imposing restrictions on freedom of expression and speech is a fascist practice. Manzoor Pashteen! We are ashamed,” tweeted Mushtaq Minhas, the former AJK information minister and member of the PML-N organising committee.
“Manzoor Pashteen is the voice of millions of people. Restricting his entry to Azad Jammu and Kashmir is the worst step. Notwithstanding political differences [with Mr Pashteen] we condemn such cowardly steps…,” tweeted Nasira Khan Sudhozai, a PML-N activist.