Human rights activist and lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir said on Monday that the silence of progressives on the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Azam Swati for tweeting against the military is ‘shocking’.
The lawyer’s comments came a day after Senator Azam Swati was arrested for using ‘foul language’ in his tweets against the military. This was the second time Swati was arrested in the last two months.
In her tweets, Imaan said that the silence of progressive voices over the treatment of Senator Azam Swati was shocking, but even worse was their justification of it. “Criticism of the state, government or public officials —however harsh, is not a crime,” she wrote, adding that if the military was so weak that it cannot tolerate a criticism, then the government should ‘stop wasting money on the defence budget’.
She said that people who raised their voices against state violence were routinely silenced. “This is because the system is for military hooligans who use the law and the courts as tools for their bullying,” she wrote.
Imaan then criticized the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and said that they had completely surrendered themselves to the same people who were treating them in a similar manner a while ago. “What respect will they give to the vote when they can’t even respect their own political struggle” she asked, referring to the PDM’s slogan of Vote Ko Izzat Dou (respect the vote).
Calling the situation ‘bleak and hopeless’, she said that politicians kept fighting each other to prove their loyalty to the king, and as always, the king is the only real victor.