Human rights defender
For the last two decades, Zar Ali has been working as a human rights defender in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. Zar Ali works on the promotion and the protection of the rights of the people of FATA. He is the President of an organisation and the Chairperson of a consortium. Due to the pressure of being abducted or kidnapped by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan, Zar Ali had to close his office. He then turned to social media to continue his fight, where he highlights human rights issues in FATA. He shares information with other human rights organizations who consequently take action and report about the human rights issues. Furthermore, he composes bimonthly reports about the shrinking civil space and threats to human rights defenders.
Human rights violations in the FATA
Until this date, FATA is being ruled under the British Frontier Crime Regulation (FCR) of 1901, which is in contradiction with the fundamental rights of the tribal people. Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the Pakistani’s military offence against non-state armed groups that started in June 2014, continues to bring high levels of armed conflict and political violence in FATA. 5.3 million people in FATA have been displaced as a result of the counter-terrorism operations since 2008. State and non-state actors continue to harass, threaten, detain and kill human rights defenders in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi.
Threats and harassment
In 2016, Zar Ali was fired upon by terrorists while he was on his way to his office. He narrowly escaped the attack.. Zar Ali was himself abducted by the ISI, taken to their headquarters and interrogated for several hours in 2017. At the beginning of 2017, his office was attacked with water by the ISI, which destroyed his office archives, documents and computers.