“I have been attacked twice; my life is in danger,” says lawmaker and PTM co-founder Ali Wazir

According to media reports, incarcerated Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) lawmaker Ali Wazir, has publicly claimed that his life is in danger. The lawmakers was admitted to Karachi’s Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre on Tuesday where he addressed PTM workers outside the hospital and demanded that he either be shifted back to Central Jail in Karachi or be taken to Islamabad to attend the ongoing budget session in the National Assembly (NA).

Who is Ali Wazir?

Muhammad Ali Wazir is a Pashtun nationalist politician who is the co-founder of a human rights movement, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). He has been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan since August 2018. Ali Wazir is currently facing sedition and hate speech charges in multiple cases. He was imprisoned at the Karachi Central Jail since the 31st of December 2020.

What is he claiming?

While addressing PTM workers, Ali Wazir said:

I have been attacked twice at the hospital. I was first attacked on my first day at the hospital and later again on Wednesday night. I should be taken to Islamabad to attend the budget session since NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has issued a production order for me. I want to raise the problems of my constituency. Otherwise, I demand that I should be sent back to the jail as I feel insecure here.

It is pertinent to mention that the NA speaker had issued a production order for the PTM lawmaker on Tuesday to attend the ongoing budget session. However, officials have not shifted Wazir to Islamabad yet.

Speaking about failing to attend the budget session, Wazir said:

This is the second time in as many years that I am not being allowed to attend the budget session. Previously, a production order was issued for me to attend a previous budget session when I was imprisoned in Haripur jail in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Yet, I was not taken to Islamabad to attend the session at the time.

He further shared:

I submitted an application with jail authorities for my medical treatment three years ago, but I was never shifted to a hospital until Tuesday. However, now I have been shifted to a hospital so that I could be barred from attending the budget session. This is a session during which lawmakers raise problems being faced by the people of their constituencies. My demand of being shifted from the hospital is not “illegal”. I don’t know why I have been barred from attending the session when I have never been involved in any act of terrorism or have ever committed corruption.

Ali Wazir initiates a Peaceful Protest

PTM leader Muhammed Sher Mehsud announced that Ali Wazir sat outside the hospital in protest as he was not allowed to meet his relatives, friends, and party’s workers inside the hospital. Explaining the protest, Mehsud said:

He started his protest at 4pm on Wednesday. For Wazir, the atmosphere at the hospital was suffocating as he had been asked to stay bed-ridden. Later, officials from court police and police held talks with Wazir till 2am on Thursday and agreed to shift him back to the prison today. Wazir was shifted to the hospital for physiotherapy.

An anonymous police official narrated the incident and said:

Ali Wazir had abandoned his hospital bed on Wednesday evening and sat outside the hospital in protest. Later, he called on PTM workers and spoke to them there, expressing fear for the safety of his life. Following this, negotiations between Wazir and court police, jail officials and district police continued till Thursday morning. The talks were “successful” and it was decided that Wazir would be shifted to the prison today.

It should be noted that the purported attack on Wazir was denied by the official. Clarifying his stance he said that neither Ali Wazir nor any of his friends from the PTM lodged any complaint to the relevant police station to this effect.

Ali Wazir has now been shifted to prison, but is he safe there? Who is trying to harm the lawmaker? And what are authorities doing to ensure his safety? There are so many questions regarding the incident but only time will unveil their answers.

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