Pakistan: Killing of PTM leader Arif Wazir

06/05/2020
Urgent Appeal

PAK 002 / 0420 / OBS 048
Killing / Attack
Judicial harassment /
Arbitrary detention
Pakistan
May 6, 2020

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Pakistan.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the killing of Mr. Arif Wazir, a leader of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) [1] in Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan.

According to the information received, on May 1, 2020, Mr. Arif Wazir was attacked by unidentified armed men while he was travelling in a car near his house in Ghwakhwa village in Wanna, the largest city of South Waziristan District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. He was hit by three bullets and was subsequently transported to a local hospital before being transferred to Dera Ismail Khan, and then to Islamabad’s Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS). Mr. Arif Wazir died of his injuries at PIMS on May 2, 2020.

A First information report (FIR) was lodged against “unknown people” on May 1, 2020, by police in Wanna.

On April 17, 2020, Mr. Arif Wazir had been arrested by police in Wanna for alleged “anti-Pakistan speech” that he would have made during a visit to Afghanistan the previous month. During his speech in Afghanistan, Mr. Wazir spoke about the impact of war on the lives of Pashtuns in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the need for unity among Pashtuns. The Observatory notes that the accusation of "anti-Pakistan speech" is an expedient label used by Pakistani authorities to target human rights defenders, particularly those associated with the PTM.

On April 27, 2020, four days before he was fatally attacked, the Tank District Court, South Waziristan, had released Mr. Arif Wazir on bail.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Arif Wazir Wazir, as a PTM leader, was detained six times and intermittently spent more than 13 months in detention. In the past years, PTM members have been regularly targeted by police, which have filed cases against them on charges of committing sedition through their speeches. In 2019, the Observatory reported the following attacks against PTM members and their relatives: the killing of Mr. Ibrahim Arman Loni [2], a PTM core committee member in Balochistan Province; the arbitrary detention of 18 PTM members, including Pashtun and women’s rights defender Ms. Gulalai Ismail; [3] the judicial harassment of Ms. Gulalai Ismail’s family members [4]; the arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment of Mr. Mohsin Dawar and Mr. Ali Wazir, both elected Members of the National Assembly and affiliated with the PTM; and the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Alamgir Wazir, a PTM supporter in Lahore. In January 2020, the leader of PTM, Mr. Manzoor Pashteen was arrested along with 23 other human rights defenders, including PTM members and supporters who were protesting against his arrest, before being released on February 15, 2020. [5]

The Observatory firmly condemns the killing of Mr. Arif Wazir and calls on the Pakistani authorities to immediately carry out a transparent, impartial, and thorough investigation into his killing in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and punish them as provided by the law.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Pakistan, urging them to:
 
i. Carry out a transparent, impartial, immediate and thorough investigation into the killing of Mr. Arif Wazir in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and punish them as provided by the law;

ii. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity and psychological well-being of all human rights defenders in Pakistan;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against all the human rights defenders in Pakistan, and ensure that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals in all circumstances;
 
iv. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1 and 12.2;
 
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Pakistan.

Addresses:

• Mr. Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan; Fax: +92 51 920 8479; Email: secretary@president.gov.pk
• Mr. Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Minister in Charge for Interior and Narcotics Control; Fax: +92 51 922 04 04; Email: info@pmo.gov.pk
• Mr. Ijaz Shah, Minister of State for Interior, Fax: +92 51 920 2624, Email: interior.complaintcell@gmail.com
• Ambassador Farukh Amil, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Fax:022 734 80 85; Email: mission.pakistan@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Pakistan located in your country.

***
Paris-Geneva, May 6, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] PTM is an alliance that calls for the de-mining of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas, greater freedom of movement in these areas, an end to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions, and for the accountability of perpetrators of such acts within a truth and reconciliation framework.
[2] See Observatory Urgent Appeal PAK001 / 0219 / OBS 015, published on February 14, 2019.
[3] Idem.
[4] See Observatory Urgent Appeal PAK 002 / 0719 / OBS 062, published on July 16, 2019, and PAK 002 / 0719 / OBS 62.2, published on October 25, 2019.
[5] See Observatory Urgent Appeal PAK 001 / 0120 / OBS 006, published on January 31, 2020.

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