Human Rights advocate Imaan Mazari arrested in Pakistan on allegations of interference in state affairs

Imaan Mazari, the daughter of Pakistan’s former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, was taken into custody from her residence in Islamabad in the early hours of Sunday on suspicion of involvement in state affairs, as reported by local authorities.

An official from Tarnol Police Station detailed that the young lawyer and activist is facing charges related to meddling in state affairs, orchestrating a sit-in, and resisting authorities.

In contrast, Shireen Mazari, who stepped down from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party after a period of detainment due to her association with the May 9 riots, categorically criticized her daughter’s apprehension, labeling it as an “abduction.” Shireen asserted that unidentified individuals dressed in plain clothes forcibly entered their residence, seizing security cameras, laptops, and a cellphone, and took Imaan into custody. Venting her frustrations on X (formerly Twitter), she characterized the incident as an instance of “state fascism.”

Before her detention, Imaan Mazari utilized X to share details of the intrusion by “unidentified individuals” who tampered with their home security cameras and forcefully entered their premises.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly denounced Imaan’s arrest and is urging her immediate release. The HRCP expressed deep concern over the alleged intrusion by Islamabad Police into her residence without a legal warrant. This incident is viewed as reflective of a disturbing pattern of state-sanctioned violence targeting individuals who exercise their right to freedom of expression and assembly.

Imaan Mazari recently attracted media attention for her participation in a rally organized by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), a group critical of the military establishment, during which she criticized the influential military hierarchy. Shireen Mazari reacted by voicing her dismay at the unfounded and personal accusations against her, underscoring the importance of substantiated claims.

Following these developments, a wave of social media activity ensued, with numerous users expressing solidarity with Imaan Mazari while others rallied behind Shireen Mazari.

In the wake of her release from custody, Shireen Mazari announced her decision to step down from active political engagement. This move follows her multiple arrests since May 12 in connection with the outbreak of violence on May 9, when supporters of the PTI engaged in attacks on civilian and military installations across Pakistan. The unrest, referred to as the “Black Day,” prompted several PTI leaders to sever their ties with the party in a bid to evade potential legal repercussions.