ATLANTA (Pajhwok): The Islamic Emirate says intelligence personnel have picked up education activist Matiullah Wesa for questioning about his willful actions. However, the education advocate’s arrest has drawn widespread reactions.
Also, a representative of the Qalam Laar community, Wesa was arrested in the Khoshal Khan Mena area of the 5th police district of Kabul late on Monday.
His brother said: “Wesa left the mosque before I did after offer Asar prayers. On coming out of the mosque, I saw security personnel in two vehicles without number plates talking to Wesa.”
Akhlaqi alleged the behaviour of the security personnel was inappropriate as they asked them to show ID cards. He added the security people took away Wesa with themselves.
Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, told the BBC Wesa had been arrested for his willful activities.
He said: “He (Wesa) organises meetings and is involved in instigating people against the system. He was arrested for this reason, which is being investigated.”
According to Mujahid, all governments make arrests to ensure public order. No one, however, would be treated unfairly, he assured.
Another brother of the detainee, Attaullah Wesa, said in a video clip that his house had been surrounded for several hours on Tuesday.
He claimed two of his other brothers were also arrested, as well as his children, mother and wife were insulted and their privacy violated. Their mobile phones and other things were also snatched, he alleged.
Attaullah said: “They are trying to arrest me, but I’m in a safe place. They mistreated us. we are the people of pen. We have worked voluntarily for 15 years and are ready for any kind of sacrifice for our people.”
Reactions to Wesa’s arrest
Former president Hamid Karzai expressed his concern over the arrest of Matiullah Wesa.
“I call the activities of Wesa, head of the Pen Path community, for the good of the country and I ask the caretaker government not to refrain from any effort to release him as soon as possible.”
The ex-president urged the rulers to promote the activities of the Pen Path community and to help and cooperate with it in furthering the cause of education.
Zia-ul-Haq Amarkhel, the former governor of Nangarhar, also expressed worries over the detention of Wesa.
He tweeted that Wesa was a young man who kept the candle of education alight. He believed the young people working for the promotion of education deserved to be praised instead of being suppressed. Wesa must be freed as soon as possible, he demanded.
Hekmat Suroush, a civil society activist, hailed Wesa as a true servant of Allah. Wesa and his family had been working tirelessly for educating Afghan children for years, he acknowledged.
UN, EU, US and Human Rights Watch officials have also expressed their concerns over the arrest of Wesa and have called for his early release.
Pakistan’s youngest Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai noted Wesa’s education services in terms of running mobile schools and libraries. She slammed his arrest as an assault on education.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Malala also underlined an immediate end to the ban on secondary and university education for girls in Afghanistan.
Earlier, UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett also expressed his concern over the arrest of Wesa. Bennett tweeted that the safety of the activist was crucial and all his legal rights must be respected.
European Union Special Representative for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson tweeted: “I am deeply troubled by the arrest of @PenPath1@matiullahwesaby Taliban df authorities. Mr Wesa has been advocating for access to education for Afghan boys and girls throughout the country since 2009, in dialogue with local communities. #ReleaseMatiullahWesa.”
US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Karen Decker tweeted: “Multiple disturbing reports of Afghans being held for participating in peaceful protest, supporting Afghan aspirations. Let Matiullah Wesa & others work unhindered — consult them, don’t incarcerate them. Their voices reflect the will of many Afghans.”
Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen, the chairman of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), also asked for Wesa’s release in a tweet. He remarked talking about education or human rights was no crime.
But Maulvi Abdul Haq Hammad, media-monitoring director at the Ministry of Information and Culture, tweeted: “I don’t know Wesa, nor his case. But his activities were suspicious and the system reserves the right to question such individuals.”
According to him, in fact the arrest of an individual that drew such wide reactions indicates the foiling of a sinister conspiracy.