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Condemnation Statement Re: Murder of PTM Leader Sardar Mohammad Arif Wazir in Wanna, Waziristan-Pakistan
Pashtun Council America
3633 Barcroft View Terrace #102
Falls Church, VA 22041
3 May 2020
Pashtun Council America (PCA) is gravely concerned over the politically-motivated assassination of Arif Wazir on May 1, 2020, in a deadly attack in his hometown Wanna, South Waziristan, Pakistan.
Arif Wazir was a leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) and cousin of Muhammad Ali Wazir (Member National Assembly (Parliament)-Pakistan), who has lost 18 family members to such militant attacks over the last decade. Arif Wazir is one of the 18 people murdered in the family. His father and brother were also killed in a militant attack in his home in 2005. Wazir has been killed because of his undaunted commitment to the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement.
PTM is a civil rights movement of ethnic Pashtuns in Pakistan, advocating an end to the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and state-enforced terrorism. It demands the establishment of an independent truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the human rights abuses committed by Pakistan State authorities and non-state actors during the military operations in the erstwhile tribal areas of Pakistan during the past 15 years.
After Arif Wazir’s assassination, Pakistan’s military establishment’s social media trolls initiated a social media character assassination campaign against Arif Wazir, led by the official Twitter account of Governor Punjab, Pakistan. This raised suspicion amongst the rights activists that Arif Wazir has been killed by the “good Taliban,” an asset of Pakistan’s military establishment.
PCA is gravely concerned about the increased activities of the Taliban in Pakhtunkhwa, specifically in the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas. PTM activists have been reporting increased militant activities, including abductions, target killing, reorganization, fundraising, and recruitments of the Taliban since the US and Afghan Taliban Peace Deal signing on February 29,2020. It is evident from the increased movement of the Taliban in the tribal areas that Pakistani state authorities are once again reorganizing and strengthening Taliban groups for a proxy war in Afghanistan in the wake of withdrawal of US-Forces. This is not only a threat to the peace of Pakhtunkhwa and the region but also a threat to global peace and security.
Since the inception of PTM, the Pakistani state authorities have suppressed even the mildest dissent, through officials means, the use of regressive anti-terrorism, cybercrime and other laws such as 3MPO (Maintenance of Public Order), and through proxies acting with impunity. PTM activists have been threatened, beaten, detained, disappeared and killed. The way PTM leaders are attacked and killed with impunity points to the role of the Pakistani state in their blatant persecution.
PCA calls for an independent and fair investigation into Arif Wazir’s murder and demands that the perpetrators must be held accountable. It also calls for global cooperation to stop the newly emerging dynamics of increasing militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, under state authorities’ supervision. On behalf of the Board of Directors, Pashun Council America https://pashtuncouncil.org/