ISLAMABAD (AP) — The brother of a human rights attorney who advised the PTI chairman is being held in Pakistan, and many well-known public personalities in Britain have called on Pakistan to free him.
On Wednesday night, the appeal was made by former UK Cabinet ministers, high-ranking law enforcement officials, prominent journalists, and legal rights groups. It follows the arrest of Murad Akbar, Shahzad Akbar’s brother, earlier this week.
The lawyer, who is not presently in Pakistan, tweeted a few days ago that security officers had searched his home and seized his brother. The presence of Murad Akbar in Pakistani prison has not been verified or disputed by the country’s authorities.
“We call on Pakistani authorities to immediately release Murad Akbar, who we believe is arbitrarily detained and at risk of torture, disappearance, and death,” reads a joint statement from Britain.
They said Murad Akbar was “a very vulnerable individual, who was under his family’s care after experiencing mental health issues for which he is receiving psychiatric treatment” and that he had not been charged with any crimes.
During the previous PTI administration, his brother Shahzad Akbar, a well-known human rights advocate, worked as an advisor.
On what accusations the lawyer’s brother was being held, however, remained unclear.
Following the party chairman’s arrest in Islamabad last month, police arrested hundreds of PTI employees and supporters for their suspected role in the violent unrest.
A court in the eastern city of Lahore on Thursday ordered the release of an undetermined number of PTI supporters who had been detained under a Pakistani legislation that permits police to hold anybody for a month without a reason. Many inmates, including prominent PTI officials, petitioned for the decision, which led to the decision.
How many inmates would be impacted by the choice and when they would be released were also unknown.