By EUROPE SOLIDAIRE SANS FRONTIERES
On May 26, 2019, a peaceful procession in the Waziristan region led by Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar, both Members of National Assembly (MNAs), was fired upon by army men, leaving at least 13 dead and over 40 injured.
Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar were elected as Members of the National Assembly (MNA) in the general elections held in 2018. They are also leaders of the Pashtun Defence Movement/Pashtun Tahfuz Movement (PTM), a mass social movement that emerged two years ago.
The PTM demands an end to military operations in the region bordering Afghanistan. This region is inhabited by ethnic Pashtuns. Their demands have brought them in conflict with the country’s powerful military. For the last two months, the military spokesperson has been passing threats to the PTM. Besides, the media were publicly advised by the military not to give any coverage to the PTM.
These threats and media black out translated into a tragic reality on May 26. On the one hand, the peaceful procession was fired upon. On the other, media unanimously reported that the PTM activists led by Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar attacked a military check post and ensuing violence claimed the lives of three protestors besides injuring three soldiers.
Ironically, video footages—filmed through mobile phones—have emerged. These videos clearly show that Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar were fired upon from behind. While people were falling to bullets, Ali Wazir, instead of running to safety, went back to help an injured comrade. As he approached his comrade, near the checkpost, he was arrested by the military.
The next day, he was produced before the Anti-Terrorism-Court and remanded for eight days. Meantime, the entire opposition in the Parliament has demanded his release. He suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure.
There have been unconfirmed allegations of torture as well. In the event, even if he is released for now, his life remains threatened. Like the rest of the PTM leadership, he has been subjected to a vicious hate propaganda. He is being portrayed by the mainstream media and the military as a foreign agent, a traitor, and a terrorist.
Fact of the matter is, the PTM staunchly believes in non-violence while 16 members of Ali Wazir’s family, including his siblings and father, were assassinated by the Taliban owing to his family’s opposition to the Taliban. He emerged as a symbol of anti-Taliban struggle before the rise of the PTM.
We urge you to sign this petition for these democratic demands:
1) The urgent release of Ali Wazir and his PTM comrades
2) An end to vilification campaign against the PTM leadership
3) Withdrawal of fake police cases under anti terrorist laws against Ali Wazir and the PTM members.
Gilbert Achcar, Prof., SOAS University of London, Britain
Olivier Besancenot, spokesperson NPA, France
Fathi Chamkhi, Popular Front Member of Parliament, Tunisia
Dr Lal Khan, editor Asian Marxist Review, Pakistan
Pierre Khalfa, Member of Copernic Foundation and Scientific Council of Attac, France
Stathis Kouvélakis, Reader in Political Theory, King’s College, Britain
Michael Löwy, Emeritus Research Drector at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, France
Jeff Mackler, Socialist Action USA
Christian Mahieux, International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggles
Gustave Massiah, Cedetim, France
Olivier Neveux, University Professor, École normale supérieure de Lyon (ENS de Lyon)
Dr Taimur Rehman, General Secretary Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party, Pakistan
Pierre Rousset, ESSF, France
Catherine Samary, économiste, France
Dr. Farooq Sulehria, Assistant Professor, Beaconhouse National University Lahore, Pakistan
Farooq Tariq, Spokesperson, Awami Workers Party, Pakistan
Josette Trat, sociologue, France
Eric Toussaint, CADTM International Spokesperson
Roseline Vachetta, former Member of the European Parliament, France
Achin Vanaik, Retired Professor of International Relations and Global Politics, former Head of the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi.
To sign this call, please see: http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?page=contact.