Amid the world grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan's secret agency ISI is propelling forth to weed off top Baloch and Pashtun leaders taking full use of the distraction. Over the weekend, missing Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain was found dead in Sweden. A day after this incident, Arif Wazir, a Pashtun Rights Activist and leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) was shot dead by unidentified armed persons outside his home in Wana, South Waziristan.
The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement has been critical of Pakistan's policies in the tribal belt with the Pakistan Army holding them responsible for an "anti-national agenda." The death of Arif Wazir makes him the eighteenth adult male in Ali Wazir’s family that has been killed in the last decade. The PTM has also actively raised its voice against the army's atrocities on the civilians in Pashtun dominated areas.
"Arif Wazir is the 18th member of Ali Wazir's family to have been killed in a targeted attack. The family has sacrificed far more than most for the nation. Arif was an exceptional political activist and a young leader from South Waziristan. Heartbreaking," said Pashtun Tahafuz Movement in a tweet. Soon after, a hashtag #StateKilledArifWazir trended on social media.
Meanwhile, Sajid Hussain who was mysteriously killed in Sweden had left Pakistan in 2012 and had been living as a refugee in Sweden since 2017. The 39-year-old was a prominent Baloch journalist and Editor-In-Chief of the Balochistan Times. His body was found the police from a river in Uppsala.
Baloch political activists believe that Sajid was killed for exposing the Pakistan army and the ISI for rampant enforced disappearances, torture, and killings of political activists, intellectuals, students, and journalists in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
While sources have revealed that ISI is behind these coordinated attacks, it is seemingly obvious to see that the Pakistan intelligence agency is making full use of the pandemic to carry out targeted killings unfearful of the consequence as the world tries to come out of this global health crisis.