–10 PTM activists, including Wazir’s cousin, injured in the attack
PESHAWAR: Dozens of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) supporters were injured and at least three were killed as a result of an attack on PTM leader Ali Wazir by the “pro-government militants”, also known as Peace Committee.
However, the PTM sympathisers gathered to welcome Ali retaliated, upon which the militants fled, leaving Ali’s cousin and VOA journalist injured among others. The injured were shifted to Agency Headquarter Hospital Wana for medical treatment where they were declared to be out of danger.
According to reports, differences between the two parties developed on Saturday when pro-government militant leader Ainullah Wazir had snatched Pashteen caps from the PTM activists and set them on fire. Following the incident, Ali Wazir had condemned the act and called for a sit-in protest from Monday.
Subsequently, the militants retaliated and attacked Mirzalam Khan Wazir Market and a nearby petrol pump, owned by Ali Wazir. However, before the attack, they went to Ali Wazir’s home, armed with guns, and asked him to leave the area or quit PTM. The PTM leader refused to do so. The attack on the market was foiled by a large number of PTM activists and relatives of Ali Wazir who assembled there to resist the militants. The militants opened fire at the activists, injuring scores.
Talking to Pakistan Today, a leader of PTM, Mohsin Dawar, claimed that militants fled after the attack was successfully repulsed by the PTM sympathisers, leaving their two vehicles behind. However, in the aftermath of the attack, the paramilitary forces reached the area and “started firing”, claimed Dawar. “As a result, scores of the PTM members were injured,” he alleged.
When asked how many people have died, he said there are reports of several deaths, adding that he cannot confirm the number.
No official statement was issued regarding the clash till the time of filing of this report and the security forces had been successful in restoring peace in the area. Mohsin Dawar said even though the military imposed a curfew in the area, but it has not discouraged the people from coming out and expressing their support for the PTM.
A source said that the Frontier Crops personnel attempted to “rescue the militants”, who are part of the Peace Committee established under an agreement between the government and the local Ahmadzai tribesmen in March 2007. Mullah Nazir was commander of the Taliban back then, who was killed in a US drone attack couple of years ago but the group still exists with full government support.
Security forces offered protection to Ali Wazir but PTM activists refused, citing lack of trust and continued guarding his properties themselves. The Taliban, however, remained inside their compound, which is also established on the property snatched from Ali Wazir’s family.
Additional reporting by Shamim Shahid from Peshawar