Activist held in South Waziristan for anti-state rally


PESHAWAR: FATA Political Alliance South Waziristan chief Arif Wazir was arrested Saturday by the political administration on the charges of staging an anti-state rally on the eve of Pakistan National Day at Wana.

According to details, Arif Wazir was picked up by a group of security personnel from his home on Saturday morning and was shifted to Wana camp where offices of political agent and other civil and military officers are located. Later, after being booked under Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), the political agent through an official notification confirmed Arif’s arrest and issued notices to his kith and kin.

Arif Wazir is leading the FATA Political Alliance in South Waziristan Agency – a body striving for political and constitutional rights for tribesmen and supporting the merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The alliance in its rally on March 23 endorsed the demands of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) and announced whole-hearted support for Manzoor Pashteen.

Demanding equal rights, Arif addressed the rally and asked the rulers to recognize and treat the tribal people like other Pakistani citizens. He added that the tribesmen were suffering a lot on the pretext of war on terror.

He further said, “They [tribal people] abandoned homes to enable the army to take action against terrorists, but now they are only treated as strangers on military check posts and are not even allowed to own homes and properties.”

Later, Arif Wazir led the rally to the home of slain Naqeebullah Mehsud at Makin Town where they offered ‘Fateha’ for the departed soul and extended sympathies to his father and other family members.

So far, the FATA alliance hasn’t announced any reaction to Arif Wazir’s arrest, but members of traditional jirga in Wana is engaged in dialogue with high-ups of both civil administration and armed forces.

Arif was arrested three months ago as well on the charges of staging a demonstration regarding FATA’s merger, and for demonstrating against unnecessary check posts and restrictions against tribal people.

Meanwhile, PTM in its meeting held on Saturday with Manzoor Pashteen in the chair at Hayatabad, Peshawar, decided to hold a peaceful rally in Peshawar on April 8. Manzoor Pashteen announced of approaching Peshawar deputy commissioner for getting permission, as well as for contacting leaders of other political parties to participate and support the rally.

The purpose of the rally is to decide the future course of action, with a particular emphasis on securing justice for Naqeebullah and ensuring strict punishment for Rao Anwar, besides highlighting security and administrative problems faced by Pashtuns throughout the country.

Manzoor Pashteen, who reached in Peshawar on Friday, held a detailed meeting with doctors and lawyers on Saturday, after an earlier meeting with Awami National Party leader Advocate Latif Afridi.

So far, Qaumi Watan Party of Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao and Awami Workers Party have announced their support and participation in PTM’s Peshawar rally to be held on April 8.