PTM members gathered in Loralai district of Pakistan earlier this year (photo courtesy Twitter user Abdullah Mashood)
PTM members gathered in Loralai district of Pakistan earlier this year (photo courtesy Twitter user Abdullah Mashood)

PTM leader Arif Wazir was 18th member of family to be killed in targeted attack

ANI | Updated: May 03, 2020 03:33 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 3 (ANI): With Pakistan continuing its crackdown against Pashtuns, the holy month of Ramzan, has not begun on a good note for the family of Arif Wazir, a PTM leader who died in a hospital here after sustaining bullet injuries.
On the first Friday of the holy month, unidentified persons opened fire at Wazir near his house in Wana, the South Waziristan district of the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Arif Wazir is the "18th member" of the family to be killed by 'unknown persons' - which Aurang Zeb Khan Zalmay, member PTM said are "state-sponsored militants of Pakistan".
"The Pakistan military called them as 'Good Taliban' and consider them as their shadow army. Arif Wazir and his family have fought for last two decades against these militants and have burnt their safe-heavens in the tribal areas of Pakistan," said Zalmay, who lives In Heidelberg, Germany in a statement.
"Arif Wazir was an outspoken bold person and was frequently objecting the dubious role of Pakistan military in the war on terror. For criticizing the dubious role of Pakistan military, Arif Wazir was several times sent to jail where he spent a total 14 months there in the last couple of years."
Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) condemned the attack in a tweet saying, "Arif Wazir is the 18th member of Ali Wazir's family to have been killed in a targeted attack. The family has sacrificed far more than most for the nation. Arif was an exceptional political activist and a young leader from South Waziristan. Heartbreaking"
According to a Dawn report, seven members of Arif Wazir's family were killed in a clash with militants near Wana in 2007. Those among dead included his father Saadullah Jan and uncle Mirza Alam.

Arif Wazir, as Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) have been outspoken critics of the Pakistani military. As is well known, criticism of military in Pakistan is frowned upon and Arif Wazir's case was no different. He was released from jail on bail just about one month ago.
Pakistan, its military and its notorious intelligence agency ISI are known to use high-handed techniques to suppress any criticism and dissent. The PTM leader and his family too have been hounded.
Arif Wazir is the first cousin of MNA Ali Wazir, another PTM leader who was arrested last year along with Mohsin Dawar during a protest gathering in Kharqamar.
Pakistan Army has held the PTM responsible for running an anti-national agenda, whereas the party led by Manzoor Pashteen is raising the voice against the army's atrocities on the civilians in Pashtun dominated areas.
Then again, this year in January, PTM Chief Manzoor Pashteen was arrested.
Just a day later, Dawar was arrested with several others while protesting Pashteen's detention. Pakistan came under strident criticism for Pashteen's arrest and he was finally released on bail on January 25.
PTM, a rights-based resistance movement in Pakistan, which has been critical of state policies in the tribal belt has ruffled feathers among the Pakistan military with its demand of probe into gross human rights violation conducted by the Army. It has also been vocal against the government on the issue of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Ever since it was founded in 2018, the PTM has organised regular demonstrations against Pakistan Army's heavy-handed operations in tribal regions while the military has evidently chosen to crush the movement with its all too familiar tactics. (ANI)