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If our demands not met, Pakhtoon area will secede from Pak: Ali Wazir

If our demands not met, Pakhtoon area will secede from Pak: Ali Wazir

Muhammad Ali Wazir, the lone Marxist, who won the North Waziristan National Assembly seat in 2018 after losing 16 of his family members to terror, has become a threat to Pakistan. He is a senior leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) or Pashtun Protection Movement—an unarmed, peaceful resistance movement working within the parameters of the Constitution of Pakistan. But they openly criticize the Pakistan Army and establishment for violating the basic human rights of the Pashtuns.

Pakistan agencies have already briefed their mercenaries to keep those like Ali silent. He has been asked to either leave the area or exit PTM. The fearless Ali Wazir has survived multiple attacks made on him. A number of times he has been attacked by the Pakistan Army-backed militants. While Ali Wazir survived the attacks, he lost his first cousin Arif Wazir in May.

Between 2003 and 2020, more than 18 male members of Ali Wazir's extended family were killed by the militants. He spoke to R.C. Ganjoo for IndiaNarrative.com on a variety of issues—social, political and terror-related. Excerpt from the interview:


Qs: How would you describe Prime Minister Imran Khan’s governance and the role of the Opposition parties?

AW: Imran Khan has proved to be a failed ruler. He himself is responsible for inviting political crisis in Pakistan. He is sailing on two boats—one that of the US and the other of China’s, along with the Army. Under the thumb of the Army, he has demolished the democratic system. His actions clearly indicate that he acts on the instructions of the Army.

The Pakistan Army has become very power-hungry today. Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s extension till 2022, sidestepping the Supreme Court’s decision, has perturbed 20 Army generals. Lt Gen Sarfraz Sattar, the senior-most general, would have become chief had Bajwa retired in November 2019. But Sattar was sent to retirement and put under house arrest. The generals who will retire before Bajwa’s extended term include Humayun Aziz, Naeem Ashraf, Sher Afghan, Qazi Mohammad Ikraam, Bill Akbar, Mohammad Afzal, Azhar Saleh Abbasi, Majid Ihsan, Abdullah Dogar, Moazzam Aijaz, Nadeem Zaki, Shaheen Mazhar, Abdul Aziz, Asim Munir, Syed Mohammad and Waseem Ashraf. They all are in the Opposition with a clear inclination towards China.

Now, as far as Opposition parties are concerned, they have formed a joint front a number of times but have not tasted success. The recently formed Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), under the leadership of Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, is in a fragile entity. The Pakistan People’s Party, a constituent of PDM, has maintained its closeness with the ruling clique. Nawaz Sharif, though himself is against the Army and Imran Khan’s party PTI, his party PML (N) rank and a file are in a disorientation mode.


Q: What would be the impact of the Afghan-US talks on Pakistan?

AW: The total number of Pakistani foreign fighters in Afghanistan, posing a threat to both countries, is estimated somewhere between 6,000 and 6,500, and most of them are with Tehreek-I-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The TTP used to be an umbrella for several militant and sectarian groups that emerged in Pakistan’s tribal region during and after the rule of Taliban regime in Kabul. Under the pact between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the entry of Taliban, who fled to Afghanistan due to military operation Zarb-e-Azb in June 2014, will give rise to TTP.

Zarb-e Azb and Rah-e Nijat, a military operation launched in South Waziristan in 2009 by the Army, displaced more than 1.5 million civilians from North and South Waziristan. In Waziristan thousands of soldiers, civilians, and locals were killed during the time of Taliban control and military operations.

In August this year, Ameer Usman Saifullah—the Kurd group of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, headed by Maulvi Khush Muhammad Sindhi—joined the TTP by expressing allegiance to its chief Noor Wali Mehsud. The two violent Taliban factions—Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) under Omar Khalid Khurasani and Hizb ul-Ahrar (HuA) under Omar Khurasani—re-joined the TTP conglomerate on August 17.

TTP has killed around 40 Pakistan soldiers since March 2020. The re-emergence of the militants taking place is alarming. We don’t see the state willing to nurture permanent peace in this region.


Q: How is Imran Khan fighting the war against terrorism?

AW: In the name of the so-called war against terrorism, Waziristan has been turned into a training ground for various terrorist groups—al-Qaeda, ISIS, ISIL, IS, SIC and Da'ish. These terrorists are being given rigorous arms training in safe camps in large numbers by retired and active Pakistan Army officials. The main training centers are located at Bahawalpur, Multan, Rahimyar Khan, Deragzazi Khan, and Muzaffargargh.

Inconspicuously, the trainers are in Mujahid attire sporting long beards and hair to keep their identity concealed. These terrorists have been provided safe shelter in tribal areas. They operate according to the direction of the Pak agencies and execute their dirty tasks within and outside Pakistan. The main target given by Pak agencies to terrorists is India and other Western countries.


Q: What does the PTM demand?

AW: The PTM demands to set up a judicial inquiry for Pashtuns, murdered extra-judicially in police encounters. The jirga (tribal council which has legislative and judicial functions/powers) demanded to stop racial profile of the Pashtuns in Pakistan, and to bring the Pashtun missing persons before the court of law and the innocent held be freed. The jirga also demanded that the Pakistan Army stop the abduction or firing on the innocent in the tribal areas. The abolition of the infamous Frontier Crimes Regulations from tribal areas is also another demand. Besides, removal of all landmines planted in the tribal areas, which have resulted in many civilian casualties.


Q: In case your demands are not met, what would be your course of action?

AW: So far, no heed has paid to our demands. In case Pakistan fails to address our demands, the time is not far off when Pakhtoon Tribal area will get separated from Pakistan once and for all..