The arrest of Pashtun activists in Pakistan for demanding the release of Ali Wazir, a Pashtun human rights activist and political leader, has sparked a wave of protests from civil society and human rights organizations. The activists were arrested on June 4th, 2020, in the city of Peshawar, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, after they attempted to march to the governor’s house demanding the release of Wazir.
Wazir is an elected member of the National Assembly and has been a vocal critic of the Pakistani military’s human rights abuses against the Pashtun minority. He was arrested in May 2020 and has been held without charge since then.
The arrests of the activists have been condemned by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who have called for their immediate release and for the Pakistani government to guarantee their safety. In addition, Pashtun activists across the country have organized marches and sit-ins to demand the release of Wazir and the other protesters.