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Pak PTM Leader 18th Of Family Killed By 'unknowns'; Thousands Gather To Mourn Amid Covid

Thousands of Pashtuns gathered on Sunday to mourn the murder of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Arif Wazir in his hometown Wana, South Waziristan.

Pakistan

Thousands of Pashtuns gathered on Sunday to mourn the murder of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Arif Wazir in Wana, South Waziristan. However, these people also violated the social distancing norms by gathering in such huge numbers amid the Coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan. In a video of the gathering shared by Pakistani journalist Naila Inayat, she alleged that the 'jalsas' gathering are censored and so are their 'brutal killings and funerals' by the Pakistani media.

Thousands gather to mourn the murder of Arif Wazir

Arif Wazir died on Saturday in an Islamabad hospital after unidentified persons opened fire at Wazir near his house in Wana, the South Waziristan district of the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Friday. Arif Wazir is the "18th member" of the family to be killed by 'unknown persons' - which Aurang Zeb Khan Zalmay, member PTM said are "state-sponsored militants of Pakistan".

"Arif Wazir was an outspoken bold person'

"The Pakistan military called them as 'Good Taliban' and consider them as their shadow army. Arif Wazir and his family have fought for last two decades against these militants and have burnt their safe-heavens in the tribal areas of Pakistan," said Zalmay, who lives In Heidelberg, Germany in a statement.

"Arif Wazir was an outspoken bold person and was frequently objecting the dubious role of Pakistan military in the war on terror. For criticizing the dubious role of Pakistan military, Arif Wazir was several times sent to jail where he spent a total 14 months there in the last couple of years," he added. 

The attack on Wazir came after Pakistani Police arrested him on April 17 for an alleged anti-Pakistan speech during his recent visit to Afghanistan. He was released on bail days before his killing. Mohsin Dawar, a member of Pakistan's Parliament and member of the PTM, accused “state-sponsored terrorists” of carrying out the attack.

Pakistan, its military and its notorious intelligence agency ISI are known to use high-handed techniques to suppress any criticism and dissent. Arif Wazir is the first cousin of MNA Ali Wazir, another PTM leader who was arrested last year along with Mohsin Dawar during a protest gathering in Kharqamar.

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Pakistan Army has held the PTM responsible for running an anti-national agenda, whereas the party led by Manzoor Pashteen is raising the voice against the army's atrocities on the civilians in Pashtun dominated areas.

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PTM, a rights-based resistance movement in Pakistan, which has been critical of state policies in the tribal belt has ruffled feathers among the Pakistan military with its demand of probe into gross human rights violation conducted by the Army. It has also been vocal against the government on the issue of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

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Ever since it was founded in 2018, the PTM has organised regular demonstrations against Pakistan Army's heavy-handed operations in tribal regions while the military has evidently chosen to crush the movement with its all too familiar tactics.

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(With ANI inputs)

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