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PR Short Notes


Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 557, 16 February 2023

A Pashtun Warrior: PTM leader Ali Wazir released from jail after two years



The release of Ali Wazir reveals the delayed justice for the Pashtun cause

Abigail Miriam Fernandez

On 14 February, South Waziristan MNA and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Ali Wazir was released from Karachi’s Central Jail after two years. He was imprisoned on 31 December 2022 in various sedition cases. On his release, Wazir’s lawyer stated that the PTM leader had been released after a court granted him bail in the final case registered against him. This also comes after continues protests by the PTM, which has demanded for the release and withdrawal of all cases against Ali Wazir.

Following his release, PTM leader Manzoor Pashteen said, “The cruel system has turned our society into a prison, so congratulations on being released from a small prison to a big prison. We will also break the chains of the bigger prison through resistance.” Similarly, MNA Mohsin Dawar said, “Every attempt was made to break Ali’s spirit and to keep him in jail but he has prevailed. Justice cannot be denied forever,” adding, “Congratulations to the fellow parliamentarian, Ali Wazir, winning freedom after over two years in prison, finally, a wrong is reversed! good luck for the future.” Meanwhile, the National Commission for Human Rights said it was “heartened” to hear news of Wazir’s release.

Cases against Ali Wazir
Wazir was booked in four cases registered at Sohrab Goth, Shah Latif Town, and Boat Basin police stations under sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). He was booked under sections 120-B (Punishment for criminal conspiracy), 121 (Waging or attempting to wage war or abetting the waging of war against Pakistan), 121-A (Conspiracy to commit offences punishable under section 121), 124-A (Sedition), 153 (Wantonly provocation with the intent to cause riot), 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups), 505 (Statements conducing to public mischief), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 188 (Disobedience to an order duly promulgated by a public servant) of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The four cases were registered against Wazir in different police stations in Karachi on counts of sedition and rioting. He was acquitted by an anti-terrorism court in one case and granted bail in three other cases registered against him in Karachi. Meanwhile, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 14 cases were registered against Ali Wazir, following which the Peshawar High Court barred the police from arresting him in 11 cases, while he was granted bail in three cases.

Who is Ali Wazir?
Nar Wazir, Zakhmi Wazir, Ali Wazir, Ali Wazir (Brave Wazir, hurt Wazir, Ali Wazir, Ali Wazir) is the slogan that is used to describe Muhammad Ali Wazir. He was born in 1976 in Wanna, South Waziristan and belongs to the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe. He began his political career from the platform of the Pashtun students Federation (PSF) and later went on to form the PTM movement along with Manzoor Pashteen and Mohsin Dawar. Since then, he has been at the forefront of the Pashtun movement. Later in 2018, he refused a seat offered by Imran Khan and won a seat for himself in the National Assembly as an individual candidate. He is also one of the only Marxists to be part of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

However, his journey has not been easy. His life and family have had a long history with the struggle against violence in Waziristan. He along with his family has been at the forefront of opposing Talibization in the region, which as a result has caused the death of 17 members of his family, including his father, two brothers, two uncles, and three cousins. He also survived an assassination attempt in 2018.

His struggle with the state of Pakistan has also not been easy. He has been arrested and imprisoned several times on charges of sedition, rioting and other causes under the Pakistan Penal Code. He has also been a critic of the establishment, demanding accountability for human rights violations.

His release after a period of two years, highlights the efforts taken by the state and establishment to suppress the Pushtun movement in any form right from the leaders to the members of the movement. A blind eye is often turned when political leaders make seditious remarks against the state or establishment, however, when it comes to a Pashtun leader, the same is taken very seriously. The charges made against Wazir have been trivial and minuscule, but the cost paid was larger. However, the larger logic or question that needs to be asked is why would a state offer to have negotiations with a violent group but not with a non-violent movement from the same region.

References
Hurmat Ali Shah, “Criminalizing the Non-Violent Pashtun Movement: A Profile of Ali Wazir,” The Polis Project
Naseeb Ullah Achakzai, “Lion-Hearted Muhammad Ali Wazir,” Eurasia Review, 15 February 2023
MNA Ali Wazir released from Karachi jail after more than two years,” Geo Tv, 15 February 2023
Ali Wazir released after 26 months,” The Express Tribune, 15 February 2023
Imtiaz Ali, “MNA Ali Wazir released from Karachi jail after more than 2 years,” Dawn, 15 February 2023

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