November 14, 2023
Former member of the National Assembly (MNA) and central leader of the Pukhtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) Ali Wazir, was arrested once again by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police in Dera Ismail Khan on Tuesday, November 14.
The former MNA from South Waziristan was travelling from Quetta to DI Khan after participating in the protest demonstration in Chaman. PTM activist Hanif Pashteen, who was accompanying Wazir, informed journalists that the former MNA was arrested at the Draban checkpost by police officials, adding that the police did not present any arrest warrant or FIR to Wazir at the time of the arrest.
“We have no idea where they have taken him; we visited various police stations but couldn’t find him anywhere else. We have serious concerns for his safety,”
Police Confirms Wazir in their Custody
However, DI Khan police, in a statement, confirmed that Ali Wazir is in the custody of Daraban Police Station. The police stated that Ali Wazir is wanted in various FIRs and is facing charges related to speeches against institutions and for disturbance of peace.
Wazir secured a seat in the National Assembly from NA-50 North Waziristan tribal district in the 2018 general elections. He has always been a thorn in the establishment’s side, having been a vocal critic of enforced disappearances, target killings of Pashtuns, and the military’s alleged involvement in politics and administrative matters.
His impassioned speeches have led to multiple charges of sedition and anti-terrorism. In December 2020, he was arrested by police in Peshawar and later transferred to Karachi, where he was named in five separate FIRs for allegedly making anti-state remarks. He remained in prison until February 2023.
Wazir was also arrested by the police on June 19, 2023, in North Waziristan for allegedly making an anti-state speech in a sit-in protest against enforced disappearances.
On August 20, the Islamabad Police arrested Ali Wazir, just a day after he addressed a PTM rally in Tarnol, Islamabad. He along with other PTM activists, including Manzoor Pashteen and activist Imaan Mazari, was booked in two FIRs registered by Tarnol Police Station and the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) police station under rioting and sedition charges, respectively.
On September 2nd, 2023, Islamabad Police once again arrested the former MNA in connection with a terror funding case registered at Bara Kahu Police under various sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.
‘Political situation not suitable for elections’
Meanwhile, veteran politician and human rights activist Afrasiab Khattak, condemned the recent arrest of Ali Wazir, stating that free and fair elections could not be held in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
“The current political scenario, where one party [PTI] is being forcibly sidelined and political activists like Ali Wazir are being arrested repeatedly, is not suitable for elections. The media is also under tremendous pressure and cannot call a spade a spade. If the situation persists, then the general election will be devoid of any credibility,” he said.
He added that if Ali Wazir is being prevented from participating in elections through force, it would result in increased resentment in the ex-FATA areas of KP.
“If Ali Wazir is not allowed to take part in elections, then it will be very clear that FATA has not been merged, and that there is no civilian government and no political freedom,”