Pakistan: Former human rights minister arrested
Islamabad, May 22: Former Human Rights Minister of Pakistan Shireen Mazari was arrested on Saturday, according to her daughter and a fellow former minister.
Her daughter Imaan Mazari said anti-corruption police detained and manhandled Mazari near her Islamabad home.
Male police officers have beaten and taken my mother away. All I have been told is that Anti Corruption Wing Lahore has taken her.— Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir (@ImaanZHazir) May 21, 2022
"My mother was illegally abducted," said told reporters. "If they the government think that the women are soft targets, they are mistaken," she said.
Mazari was a cabinet-level minister in the administration of ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, who also served under in Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, told Geo TV that Mazari was manhandled during the arrest.
Local broadcasters aired footage of female police officers detaining Mazari. Pakistani police confirmed she had been arrested, but said: "news of any mishandling is baseless."
شیری مزاری کی گرفتار کے مناظر— Abdul Aziz Awan (@AbdulAzizAwan13) May 21, 2022
خواتین اہلکاروں نے باقاعدہ تمام قانونی تقاضے پورے کرتے ہوۓ گرفتار کیا۔۔۔! pic.twitter.com/yX7BYGPCTa
Chaudhry claimed that her arrest was politically motivated, and that she was targeted by the new administration of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
She was reportedly arrested over a land dispute dating back to the 1970s.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the arrest and alleged manhandling, saying it "smacks of political victimization, which has regrettably become an entrenched practice and is deplorable no matter which party is the perpetrator."
HRCP condemns the arrest and manhandling of senior PTI leader @ShireenMazari1. Her arrest smacks of political victimisation, which has regrettably become an entrenched practice and is deplorable no matter which party is the perpetrator. 1/2— Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (@HRCP87) May 21, 2022
Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, whose party aligns with Sharif, said the arrest was the "worst form of political oppression."
Mazari has been critical of Sharif's new government ever since a no-confidence vote in parliament led to toppling of Khan's government last month. She is also a fierce critic of Pakistan's powerful military.
Khan said he would protest the arrest, and that he would announce a march against the new government.
In a 2019 interview, Mazari told DW that Pakistan had a long way to go before improving the lives of many citizens.