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Pakistan-Controlled Kashmir Bars Entry To Pashtun Rights Activist

Manzoor Pashteen (file photo)

The government of the Pakistan-administered portion of the disputed region of Kashmir has barred entry to the leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), an organization that campaigns for Pashtuns in the South Asian country.

A notification issued on December 22 said that PTM head Manzoor Pashteen would be barred from entry and from speaking at public events for three months.

The PTM campaigns against violations of human rights and seeks to locate missing persons who are believed to have been detained by the Pakistani intelligence agencies.

In December 2020, the government of Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan also banned Pashteen from entry. In March, the authorities expelled him from the province after he attended a condolence ceremony for slain political leader Asad Khan Achakzai.

Some 35 million ethnic Pashtuns live in Pakistan, many near the border with Afghanistan where the military has conducted campaigns against the Pakistani Taliban.

Thousands of Pakistani Pashtuns have been killed and millions displaced by the Pakistani Army’s campaigns since 2003.

Kashmir is a disputed Himalayan region claimed by both India and Pakistan, each of which administers part of it. The two countries have fought two wars over Kashmir, and a UN-negotiated cease-fire has been in effect since 1965.