Workers and supporters of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) held a sit-in in front of the Sindh Assembly on Sunday night, demanding the release of MNA Ali Wazir who has been incarcerated since December 2020.
Earlier in the day, police had attempted to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the Sindh Assembly, however PTM leaders countered that earlier this year the Jamaat-i-Islami had been allowed to hold a prolonged sit-in outside the assembly. Police relented, but a heavy police contingent remained at the scene.
PTM leader Hidayatullah urged the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in Sindh to release Ali Wazir, who he claimed was being subjected to ‘cruelty’ in a ‘false case.’ He asked why MNA Wazir remained behind bars when leaders and workers of the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) had been released last year.
The demonstration began at Sohrab Goth, and passed along a pre-approved route through the Saddar area until it reached the Sindh Assembly in the evening. PTM-Karachi leader Sher Mehsud said they would continue the sit-in until the government was willing to hold ‘serious talks’ with the group regarding their demands.
Ali Wazir, a lawmaker from South Waziristan elected to his seat in 2018, was arrested in Peshawar in December 2020 on charges of sedition, along with 10 other PTM members. Wazir was granted bail by the Supreme Court in November last year, but remains incarcerated in another case. Earlier this year, a hearing in Wazir’s trial was delayed, leading rights activists to raise concerns about the absence of due process in his case.