ISLAMABAD: Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Arif Wazir, who was attacked by ‘unidentified’ assailants outside his home in Wana, South Waziristan a day earlier, died in Islamabad on Saturday.
The news was confirmed by Wana Station House Officer (SHO) Usman Khan who said that Wazir had passed away after being shifted to Islamabad for treatment.
Wazir was strolling outside his residence in Ghwa Khwa near Wana on Friday when armed persons opened fire from a moving vehicle. According to an official, Wazir received life-threatening injuries.
He was initially admitted to the District Headquarters Hospital, Wana, but later shifted to an undisclosed hospital in Islamabad.
In 2005, Wazir’s father and brother were among seven people shot dead by ‘unknown’ people. Wazir, a teenager then, was forced to quit his studies and become the man of the house. He has left three sons, two daughters and a widow behind.
The deceased was also the first cousin of PTM stalwart Ali Wazir, who was elected as a member of the National Assembly from South Waziristan.
Taking to Twitter shortly after Wazir’s death, MNA Mohsin Dawar, who represents North Waziristan in parliament, blamed the state for the attack. He said the attack was carried out by “good” terrorists and added that his party’s “struggle against their masters will continue”.
It is with a heavy heart that I report that our comrade Arif Wazir has succumbed to his injuries. Arif Wazir’s father and brother were also killed by militants years ago. Arif wz murdered by “good” terrorists. Our struggle against their masters will continue #StateKilledArifWazir
— Mohsin Dawar (@mjdawar) May 2, 2020
According to Independent Urdu, at least four people, including Wazir and another PTM activist, have been shot dead over the past few days. The report said there was an increase in the number of vehicles with tainted glass, often used in these attacks.
PTM is a rights-based alliance that, besides calling for the de-mining of the former tribal areas and greater freedom of movement in the latter, has insisted on an end to the practices of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and unlawful detentions, and for their practitioners to be held to account within a truth and reconciliation framework.
The party has been critical of the state’s policies in the country’s tribal belt, where a massive operation against terrorists was conducted in recent times leading to alleged enforced disappearances.
PTM’s leaders, in particular its elected members to the National Assembly, have come under fire for pursuing the release of individuals detained by authorities without due process. The army alleges the party of running an anti-national agenda and for playing into the hands of the state’s enemies.
In May last year, PTM’s MNAs — Dawar and Wazir — were arrested by police after a protest gathering in Kharqamar for using violence and clashing with army personnel. The party while rejecting these claims, insisted that theirs is a peaceful struggle for the rights of people from the country’s tribal belt.