Ali Wazir, the former member of the National Assembly and a member of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), has once again been arrested by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police. The police apprehended Wazir at the Daraban checkpoint on the orders of the Pakistan Army after he returned from the Chaman protest. It has been 25 days since thousands of Pashtuns have been staging a protest at the Chaman border against the new rule of mandatory passport checks at the Pakistan-Afghan border.
On November 13th, Ali Wazir visited the site and actively participated in the protest. During his address, Wazir stated, “I don’t accept Durand; I don’t accept this passport, and I don’t accept this state.” The arrest has been highly secretive, and no police station in Dera Ismail Khan is confirming his presence in custody.
This is not the first time he has been arbitrarily arrested. Pakistan Army had previously detained him multiple times, and each arrest was deemed illegal. The primary motive behind these arrests by the Pakistan Army and its puppet administration has consistently been to suppress his voice, which brings attention to the issues faced by Pashtuns and their precarious situation. As a former parliamentarian and a vocal Pashtun leader, Wazir’s voice amplifies the concerns of Pashtuns that often go unnoticed under an authoritarian regime.
In Chaman, the voices of hundreds of thousands of Pashtuns have been unheard for the past 25 days, with minimal global attention. The government has taken no measures to address their genuine issues; instead, it is attempting to quell their voices. Ali Wazir’s participation in the protest and his stance on the passport issue has elicited a strong reaction from the Pakistani establishment, leading to his apprehension by the nervous Pakistan Army.