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Arif Wazir

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Arif Wazir
عارف وزیر
Born(1982-05-02)May 2, 1982
Ghawa Khwa, Wanna, South Waziristan, Pakistan
DiedMay 2, 2020(2020-05-02) (aged 38)
Islamabad, Pakistan[1]
Cause of deathGunshot wounds
Burial placeGhawa Khwa, Wanna, South Waziristan, Pakistan[2]
OccupationPolitician, human rights activist
MovementPashtun Tahafuz Movement
  • Saad Ullah Jan[4] (father)
RelativesAli Wazir[5] (cousin)
Malik Mirzalam Wazir (uncle)
Alamgir Wazir (cousin's son)

Sardar Muhammad Arif Wazir (Template:Lang-ps; May 2, 1982 – May 2, 2020) was a politician, activist, and one of the leaders of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. He served as president of the South Waziristan chapter of Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) and chief of FATA Political Alliance South Waziristan.[6][7] Arif belonged to the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe and was a cousin of MNA Ali Wazir.

On 1 May 2020, as he was driving home in Wanna just before the evening's fast-breaking meal, he was critically injured when gunmen from another vehicle shot him three times in the head, neck, and arm near his home.[8][9][10] He succumbed to his injuries on the next day after being shifted to Islamabad for emergency surgery, becoming the 18th male member of his extended family to be killed by militants since 2003.[11] Amnesty International called on Pakistani officials to vigorously investigate the attack.[1] Arif was survived by a widow and five children.[3]

Political career[edit source | edit]

In the 2019 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial election, Arif contested the constituency PK-114 (South Waziristan-II) as an independent candidate. However, in the month before the election, he was arrested by the administration of South Waziristan along with another independent candidate, Muhammad Iqbal Masud, who was contesting the constituency PK-113 (South Waziristan-I). Similarly, another PK-113 independent candidate, PTM leader Jamal Malyar, was put under house arrest because of which he could not run an election campaign.[12] The Election Commission of Pakistan ordered the administration to immediately release Arif Wazir and Iqbal Masud, declaring that their arrests were "tantamount to pre-poll rigging" in favor of other candidates.[13] Arif was still able to garner 10,272 votes in the election, losing to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Naseerullah Wazir by a margin of 842 votes, who got 11,114 votes.[14]

Activism and detentions[edit source | edit]

In July 2005, Arif's father Saad Ullah Jan, his brother, and his uncle Malik Mirzalam Wazir (father of Ali Wazir) were assassinated by militants during an attack near their home in Wanna in which four other members of his extended family were also killed.[3][15] Because of this, Arif was forced to quit his studies and become the man of the house.[3] He became a political activist afterwards.

In April 2017, Arif was arrested for protesting against the unavailability of Internet and mobile services in Wanna.[6]

On 23 March 2018, Arif declared his full support for Manzoor Pashteen and PTM during a rally in Wanna. "The tribal Pashtuns abandoned homes to enable the army to take action against terrorists, but now the tribals are only treated as strangers on military check posts and are not even allowed to own homes and properties," said Arif. Later in the day, Arif led the rally to the home of slain Naqeebullah Mehsud in Makin, South Waziristan. On 24 March, Arif was detained by the authorities under the Frontier Crimes Regulations for organizing the rally. Three other PTM activists were also arrested. PTM supporters protested against the arrests in front of press clubs in Peshawar, Quetta, Swat, Swabi, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan, Zhob, Loralai, Killa Saifullah, Ziarat, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, and other cities.[7][16][17][18]

On 3 June 2018, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, pro-government gunmen affiliated with the Taliban attacked Ali Wazir, Arif, and other supporters of PTM in Wanna. Ali Wazir remained unhurt but Arif and dozens of others were injured, while at least four supporters of PTM were killed in the attack.[19][20][21][22] Many of the injured were taken to hospitals in Dera Ismail Khan.[23]

On 19 June 2019, Arif was arrested by the Deputy Commissioner of South Waziristan, just a month before taking part in the provincial election as independent candidate. On 27 June, the Election Commission of Pakistan observed that this "act of the administration prior to conduct of election was tantamount to obstructing the election campaign," and ordered the district administration to release him within a day.[24][13]

On 19 July 2019, the Peshawar High Court ruled that the detention of Arif and six other PTM activists was illegal and ordered that they should be released, if not wanted in other cases.[25] However, Arif was soon arrested again during a protest in Wanna. On 3 August, Arif and 29 other PTM activists, who were arrested along with him in Wanna, were transferred to Dera Ismail Khan's central jail.[26] In February 2020, Arif was released because the authorities could not prove any charges against him.[27]

On 17 April 2020, Arif was detained by the police in Wanna and accused of making an "anti-Pakistan speech during his visit to Afghanistan" in the previous month. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, however, the allegation of being involved in anti-state activities was "an expedient label for human rights defenders, particularly those associated with the PTM."[28] He was released on bail on 27 April.[29]

During the last 26 months of his life, when he was a PTM leader, Arif was detained six times and intermittently spent more than 13 months of time in jail.[30][29]

Assassination[edit source | edit]

On 1 May 2020, only four days after his release from jail, Arif was attacked by gunmen outside his home in Wanna, Waziristan.[8] He was hit first by a bullet in his upper arm, followed by two other bullets in his neck and head.[10] The attack came just a few minutes before the evening's fast-breaking meal (iftar) during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as he was driving home in his car.

He was rushed to a local hospital in Wanna and then to DHQ hospital in Dera Ismail Khan. The doctors struggled to locate his depressed cephalic vein in the arm to set up a cannula for blood transfusion, as well as to insert a tube down his trachea to enable him to breathe artificially. Pressure bandage was applied to his head and neck wounds.[10] In unconscious state, he was then transported by road to PIMS hospital in Islamabad for emergency surgery. However, he succumbed to his injuries at PIMS hospital on the morning of 2 May,[1][31] which was his 38th birthday. His body was carried to his native village Ghawa Khwa in Wanna, where he was buried on 3 May.[2]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "PTM's Arif Wazir dies in Islamabad hospital after gun attack in Wana". Dawn. May 2, 2020. Archived from the original on 2 May 2020. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "PTM leader Arif Wazir dies from injuries". The News International. May 3, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "PTM's Arif Wazir succumbs to gunshot wounds". Pakistan Today. May 2, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  4. "پی ٹی ایم کے رہنما عارف وزیر حملے میں زخمی". Independent Urdu (in Urdu). May 1, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  5. "Three PTM supporters dead, 20 injured in 'Taliban' attack". Daily Times. June 4, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Protest against arrest of PkMAP president in Wana bazaar". Tribal News Network. April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Activist held in South Waziristan for anti-state rally". Pakistan Today. March 24, 2018. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Gunmen Critically Injure Pashtun Rights Activist In Pakistan's Tribal Areas". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. May 1, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  9. "پی ٹی ایم کے رہنما عارف وزیر قاتلانہ حملے میں زخمی، ہسپتال منتقل". BBC Urdu (in Urdu). May 1, 2020. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "The final hour and desperate measures of Pak Army: Murders of Arif Wazir and Sajid Baluch". Asian News International. May 3, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  11. "Pashtun Rights Activist Killed In Waziristan Gun Attack". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. May 2, 2020. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  12. "In Pakistan's Pashtun Tribal Belt, First Election Marred By Complaints". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. July 9, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "ECP orders release of arrested South Waziristan candidates within a day". Dawn. June 28, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  14. "Independents secure most seats in historic KP polls". Daily Times. July 22, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  15. "The Pashtuns' Year of Living Dangerously". The American Interest. March 8, 2019. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  16. "PTM protests arrest of members, registration of cases in Peshawar". Pakistan Today. March 26, 2018. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  17. "PTM activists protest alleged abduction of members, supporters". The News International. March 27, 2018. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  18. "Hundreds respond to protest call by Pashtun movement". Dawn. March 27, 2018. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  19. "Pakistan's Ali Wazir: The lone Marxist to win despite Taliban killing 16 of his family". The Print. 28 July 2018. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  20. "Pro-government militant faction targets Pashtun gathering in Pakistan, three killed". Hindustan Times. June 4, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  21. "10 Pashtun protesters killed in Pakistan, activists blame military". The Times of India. June 5, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  22. "The Pashtuns' Year of Living Dangerously". The American Interest. March 8, 2019. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  23. "Pakistan: Attack on Ali Wazir". Asian Marxist Review. June 4, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  24. "ECP summons home secretary over arrest of S.Waziristan election candidates". Dawn. June 28, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  25. "PHC declares detention of seven PTM activists illegal". Dawn. July 20, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  26. "PTM workers shifted to DI Khan jail". The Nation. August 4, 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  27. "PTM condemns arrest of Arif Wazir, denies 'hate-speech' allegations". Dawat Media. April 18, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  28. "Pakistani Pashtun Rights Activist Arrested On Hate-Speech Charge". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. April 17, 2020. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  29. 29.0 29.1 "Pakistan: Killing of PTM leader Arif Wazir". International Federation for Human Rights. May 6, 2020. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  30. "Arif Wazir, Pakistan's Noted Rights Activist Assassinated". TeleSUR English. May 2, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  31. "Pashtun Rights Activist Dies After Shooting Attack In Pakistan's Tribal Areas". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 2 May 2020. Archived from the original on 2 May 2020.

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