Friday, December 25, 2020
Michelle Bachelet Jeria
High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
52 rue des Pâquis CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland
URGENT: Appeal for the release of Ali Wazir & PTM activists from arbitrary detention
We would like to inform your good offices that Ali Wazir, a Member of National Assembly of Pakistan (MNA), and a senior leader of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), advocating the civil and political rights of the country’s ethnic Pashtun minority, was arrested by the police on 16 December 2020 while returning from a ceremony to commemorate the sixth anniversary of APS Peshawar massacre by Taliban, the proxies of Pakistan Army, which resulted in the killing of more than 150 students. Meanwhile, several other PTM activists from Sindh were also arrested in Karachi.
According to reports, the FIR against Ali Wazir and other PTM activists was registered by Sindh police on December 7, 2020 on charges of hatching a criminal conspiracy and passing derogatory remarks against state institutions. The case was registered under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 505-B (statements for inducing a person to commit offence against state), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 188 (disobeying order of public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code (FIR attached). However, PTM rejected the charges as fake and baseless and called these tactics as “fascists” to stop PTM workers from defending the rights of Pashtuns.
Through such fascist tactics of abducting and arbitrarily detaining the workers of PTM on fake and trumped up charges, the government is trying to stifle the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful Assembly in Pakistan.
It is to be noted that Ali wazir along with Mohsin Dawar (also a member of Parliament), was arbitrarily arrested and detained in connection with the Khar-Qamar massacre by Pakistan Army on May 26, 2019, resulting in killing of 16 and injuring of 45 innocent PTM workers. Peshawar High Court has annulled the charges and the fake FIR against Ali Wazir in a land-mark decision recently. In his long peaceful and non-violent struggle against terrorism and Taliban in his native area, Ali Wazir has already lost 18 members of his immediate family. His cousin Arif Wazir was also killed extra-judicially in April 2020, allegedly by ISI near his home in District Waziristan.
Ali Wazir is suffering from hypertension, diabetes, and heart problems. So, keeping in mind his health conditions, we have serious concerns regarding threats to his life in a deteriorating situation where covid-19 cases are again on rise in police lock-ups and prisons in Pakistan. While in detention, Mr. Wazir is being held in poor conditions with overcrowding, inhumane physical inspections, and food lacking in nutrients. In addition, Mr. Wazir is being denied sufficient medical care and is in imminent danger of getting infected by lethal coronavirus.
We, therefore appeal to your good offices to urge Pakistan to release Ali Wazir and other PTM activists immediately and stop the daily harassment, disappearance, arbitrary-detention, torture and Extra-Judicial killings of PTM activists in Pakistan. Otherwise, it may cause civil unrest, resulting in dire consequences for peace and stability in Pakistan and the region.
Fazal ur Rehman (AFRIDI)
Institut de recherche et d’études stratégiques de Khyber (IRESK)
Email : [email protected]
Website : khyber-institute.com
Pashtun Global Diaspora US/UK/EU
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and
protection of the right to freedom of opinion
Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom
of peaceful assembly and of association
Special Rapporteur on the situation
of human rights defenders