Pakistani authorities detain rights activist, journalist

LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistani authorities detained a rights activist who led a protest and a journalist who allegedly criticized state agencies on social media, officials said Saturday.

Police officer Abdur Rauf said Dr. Ammar Ali Jan, a college professor, was arrested early Saturday after he led a protest by the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement. The organization campaigns against perceived high-handedness by security forces against the Pashtun community. Dozens of other PTM supporters were arrested during the week but later freed.

Last week, a PTM activist died in a clash with police in the town of Loralai in southwestern Baluchistan province during a sit-in.

Amnesty International condemned Jan's arrest, saying Pakistan must stop using heavy-handed methods to intimidate peaceful protesters.

Also on Saturday, members of the Federal Investigation Agency arrested journalist Rizwan-ur-Rehman Razi at his Lahore residence, according to Razi's son, Osama.

He told The Associated Press that armed men in plain clothes had been roaming outside their residence and they called his father outside. After an argument, they dumped him in a car and took him away, Osama said. Later in the day, the FIA confirmed Razi's arrest on a charge of violating the country's cybercrime law.

An FIA official said Razi was booked for tweeting against state agencies, despite being warned and having submitted an apology in the past. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Arshad Ansari, president of Lahore Press Club, condemned the incident and demanded Razi's safe return.

Journalists and press freedom advocates say the military and powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, are pressuring media outlets to quash critical coverage. The newly elected government is meanwhile slashing its advertising budget, squeezing a key source of revenue for private newspapers and TV stations.

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