Prominent human rights defender and activist Gulalai Ismail is yet again the target of Pakistani state authorities for calling out on the government to protect human rights.
After having been detained earlier in October and placed on the ECT (Exit Control list), which bans her from leaving the country, this time an FIR (First Information Report) has been raised against Gulalai Ismail on 23 May 2019.
The charges accuse her of incitement of violence against state institutions and delivering seditious speeches. The FIR also calls on the Anti-Terrorism act in raising these charges against her.
We condemn the Pakistani authorities for their blatant misuse of the law and for targeting Gulalai in her attempts to call on the state to protect its citizens. In the wake of the horrible crime against 10 year old Farishta, in the wake of which Gulalai delivered a speech and addressed the protesters in a unified message – the state needs to make progress with the case and demonstrate its will to protect its citizens and deliver justice to victims.
We also have reason to believe the charges are an underhanded attempt to single Gulalai Ismail out for her connection to the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, as Pashtun activists are commonly targeted for their criticism of military and government actions that infringe on human rights.
We call on the state of Pakistan to quit targeting Gulalai Ismail and her organization Aware Girls through misuses of legal instruments and we call on civil society everywhere to stand in solidarity with Gulalai Ismail and demand for the charges to be dropped.