A number of armed men critically injured Pashtun rights activists in Pakistan’s tribal areas | Instant News


Unidentified gunmen have critically injured a prominent Pashtun ethnic rights activist in an attack in the tribal district of South Waziristan.

Sardar Arif Wazir, one of the leaders of the Tahafuz Pashtun Movement (PTM), was traveling by car in the city of Wanna when gunmen opened fire from other vehicles, Radio Mashaal of RFE / RL reported on May 1.

He was rushed to a hospital in the town of Dera Ismail Khan.

The attack came after Pakistani police arrested Wazir on April 17 for delivering an “anti-Pakistani” speech during a recent visit to Afghanistan. He was released on bail two days before the attack.

Mohsin Dawar, a member of Pakistan’s lower house of parliament and a prominent figure at PTM, accused “state-sponsored militants” of carrying out the attack.

“Attacking masters must know that bullets, injuries and prisons cannot weaken our resolve.” he wrote on Twitter.

There was no direct response from the government. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

PTM has been campaigning for civil rights for Pashtuns, the country’s largest ethnic minority, since 2018.

The group has drawn tens of thousands of people to public rallies to denounce the hard operations of Pakistani Army forces against militants in tribal areas that have killed thousands of Pashtun civilians and forced millions more to flee their homes since 2003.

PTM has called for the abolition of military checkpoints in tribal areas and an end to “enforced disappearances,” where the suspects are detained by security forces without due process.

The Pakistani government rejects allegations that its security forces and intelligence agents are responsible for enforced disappearances.

Since the movement was formed in January 2018, international rights groups say that authorities have banned peaceful demonstrations organized by PTM and several prominent members have been arbitrarily detained and prevented from traveling within the country. Some members also face charges of incitement and cyber crime.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said the authorities had made accusations of anti-state activities “wise labels for human rights defenders, especially those related to PTM.”

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