Provincial Official Backs Entry Ban On Pakistani Lawmakers, Activists

The government of Pakistan's Balochistan has defended its decision to ban two lawmakers from the province.

Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar, who were elected to parliament last year in the North Waziristan tribal region and are members of a Pashtun civil rights movement, were detained on terrorism charges following a shooting incident on a security checkpoint in North Waziristan on May 26.

They were freed on bail on September 21, and were banned from entering the neighboring Balochistan Province on September 24.

Speaking to RFE/RL on October 7, Balochistan's provincial Home Minister Ziaullah Lango defended the move, which he said was needed because the two men were inciting people against the state.

Wazir and Dawar are members of the civil rights movement Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement or PTM. The group is demanding investigations into "human rights violations" in the tribal areas of which North Waziristan is a part, and in the adjacent Balochistan Province.

At the time of their arrest, the two were leading a demonstration against the detention of locals by police and the imposition of a curfew in North Waziristan when shots were fired.

Police said some of the protesters were armed and opened fire first. Protesters denied this and said soldiers opened fire when they approached the checkpoint.