ISI crackdown on activists continues in Pakistan: Pakistan assassinates exiled Baloch journalist, Pakhtun national leader

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Even during Ramzan, Pakistani agencies continue the killing spree of political dissidents, journalists and activists. In short intervals, the ISI has assassinated a prominent Pakhtun leader Arif Wazir and an exiled Baloch journalist Sajid Hussain.

On the first Friday of the Ramzan, the ISI agents shot dead Pakhtun leader Arif Wazir near his house in Waza, the South Waziristan district of the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The Pashtun leader had come out on bail barely a month ago. He was arrested allegedly for his anti-Pakistan speech in Afghanistan. The deceased leader's cousin, Muhammad Ali Wazir, in a statement said that the PTM leader, had received three bullet injuries to his body, The News International reported.

The killing of Wazir highlights Pakistan's sustained intimidation, censorship, arrests and persecution of Pashtuns and the crushing of the PTM, a movement advocating for the rights of ethnic Pashtuns. Wazir’s father and six other family members were also assassinated by terrorists in an attack in 2007.

Ever since it was founded in 2018, the PTM has organised regular demonstrations against Pakistan Army's heavy-handed operations in tribal regions. The PTM favours judicial probes into the killings by the military and campaigns against extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and discrimination against Pashtuns- something that Pakistan does not like and chooses to crush the civil rights movement with brute force.

Recently, Sajid Hussain, a Balochi journalist and the editor of Balochistan Times News, who was in exile and was presently living in Sweden, was also found dead in Sweden. Police in Sweden say they have found the body of Pakistani journalist, two months after he went missing. Hussain, who was 39, was last seen boarding a train in Stockholm on his way to the city of Uppsala on 2 March, according to the press freedom charity Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Sajid Hussain fled Pakistan in 2012 after getting death threats from Pakistani agencies and other terrorist organisations for his persistent reporting on Human Rights violations in Balochistan. He was granted political asylum in Sweden.

According to reports, earlier this year in January, PTM leader and lawmaker Mohsin Dawar was taken into custody with 28 others, while holding a peaceful protest outside Islamabad's National Press Club against the arbitrary arrest of Pashtun activist Manzoor Pashteen. Those arrested included civil society members and PTM activists among others, including three women. Six, including Mohsin Dawar, were released but 23 others were sent to Adiala jail on judicial remand.

A recent tweet by Tarek Fatah, a Pakistani Canadian journalist and an advocate of liberal and progressive form of Islam, about being on an ISI ‘kill list’ of 84 Pakistan-born exiles, does indicate the hand of ISI in the recent death of Sajid Hussain & others.

(With inputs from ANI & BBC) 



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