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Release #PTM Students in Pakistan charged with sedition ’ include PhD, MPhil scholars

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The Pakistani authorities must end the current crackdown on human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other members of the civil society and ensure that human rights are fully respected and protected.

At least 15 of the 37 youngsters held at Adiala Jail on serious charges inlcuding sedition are enrolled in various graduate programmes at leading public-sector univeristies in the federal capital.

Data gathered by Daily Times shows that most of these youngsters hail from Pashtun-populated areas of Balochistan and are enrolled either at Quaid-e-Azam University or at the International Islamic University.

They include highly accomplished individuals like Habib Kakar, who hails from Loralai district of Balochistan and is an alumunus of the prestigous Fulbright scholarship programme of the United States Education Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP). Kakar returned to Pakistan after recently completing his masters in Agricultural Studies.

Others hailing from Loralai are Niamatullah and Hameedullah. The former is pursuing a PhD programme at the QAU’s Physics Department on a merit scholarship. Hameedullah is enrolled in an MPhil programme at the university’s Pakistan Studies Centre. At least five students hail from Zhob district of Balochistan. Of these, Aimal Mandokhail, Kamran Khan, Zulqarnain Mandokhel, and Mustafiz Khan are pursuing their undergraduate degrees in law at IIU. Roohullah and Kamil Khan are studying for a masters degree in sociology at the IIU.

Among the incarcerated students are Akbar Khan and M Ishfaq Khan from South Waziristan. They are law students at IIU.

Ishtiaq Wazir of Bannu recently graduated from the IIU’s International Relations Department; Raqeeb ullah of Pishin is enrolled in OAU’s Environmental Sciences graduate programme, and Ziaul Islam of Quetta is a a student of BSc (Economics) programme at IIU.

Booking someone under section 124A (sedition) for chanting some slogans is strange. If someone challenges the state, say by demanding separation, then the police are well within their authority to book them for sedition, but there is no justification for using the section to curb criticism of ill-designed state policies,”



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