Arif Wazir, a leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) in Pakistan, died on Saturday at hospital in Islamabad after being attacked by unidentified gunmen outside his home in Wana of Waziristan, Zee News reported.
The attack comes after Pakistani Police arrested Arif Wazir on April 17 for an alleged anti-Pakistan speech during his recent visit to Afghanistan. He was released on bail three days ago. Mohsin Dawar, a member of Pakistan’s Parliament and member of the PTM, accused “state-sponsored terrorists” of carrying out the attack.
Rights group Amnesty International in a statement said that the Pakistani authorities must carry out an independent and effective investigation into the attack on Wazir on May 1, adding that the suspected perpetrators must be held accountable.
PTM has campaigned for civil rights for Pashtuns, the country’s largest ethnic minority, since 2018 and held many rallies recently against the involvement of Pakistan Army for killing of thousands of Pashtun civilians and forced millions more to abandon their homes. The PTM has insisted on an end to the practice of extrajudicial killings and unlawful detentions of Pashtun people.
‘‘It is with the heavy heart I report that our comrade Arif Wazir has succumbed to his injuries. Wazir’s father and brother were killed by terrorists years ago. Our struggle against their masters will continue,” said Mohin Dawar, a member of Pakistan’s parliament.
Criticism of the Pak Army and ISI is not allowed in Pakistan and unprecedented crackdown at press has forced many to seek refugee abroad.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) latest report observed that Pakistan’s human rights record in 2019 is ‘greatly worrisome and ongoing global pandemic was likely to cast a long shadow on prospects for human rights. HRCP in his report also noted of police extortion, refusal to register first information reports (FIR), and custodial torture emerged in all provinces.
A report of USA Freedom Network on Press freedom reveals that since 2000 a total of 133 Pakistani journalists have been killed. The legal proceedings in all the 33 incidents of journalists’ killings that took place from 2013 to 2019 have been documented and the finding is 100 per cent impunity for the killers, zero per cent justice for the 33 murdered journalists.
A Pakistani-British journalist Gul Bukhari known for a critic of Pakistani Army was abducted in June 2018 from Lahore and held for several hours by Pakistani Army. Later they denied their involvement in the abduction of Bukhari. She was asked to appear before authorities for questioning. She left Pakistan and now has settled in the United Kingdom.
Pakistan has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. In the past few years, dozens of prominent journalists have been forced to left their organization or they are not allowed to write articles against the Pakistani Army.