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ISLAMABAD: Rights acti­vist Gulalai Ismail, along with several workers of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), was on Wednesday sent to Adiala jail, Dawn has learnt.

They were picked up from outside the National Press Club on Tuesday during a protest staged by the PTM over the death of its leader Arman Loni in Balochistan last week.

A police officer told Dawn on condition of anonymity that Ms Ismail was arrested on Tuesday afternoon and shifted to a women police station from where she was taken to Adiala jail on Wednesday shortly after the capital administration issued her detention order.

He said no case had been registered against them, but all legal procedures had been followed to detain them. They had been sent to jail for 15 days, he added.

“Detention orders were issued under Section 3 (power to arrest and detain suspected persons) of the Maintenance of Public Order ordinance,” the officer said.

Another officer told Dawn that Ms Ismail’s family and lawyer had contacted the police for her release, but no decision had been taken to release her.

In August last year, a case was registered against Ms Ismail in Swabi for taking part in a public gathering and addressing people there. Two months later, she was detained at Islamabad airport on her return from London. Later, she was released on bail.

Gulalai Ismail, along with her sister, founded an NGO ‘Aware Girls’ to strengthen the leadership skills of young people, especially women and girls, enabling them to act as agents of change.

When contacted, Secretariat Zone Sub-Divisional Police Officer Ulfat Arif confirmed that Ms Ismail and other PTM activists had been sent to jail for 15 days.

Another police officer said that all male activists had been shifted to jail, but a decision about Ms Ismail was yet to be taken. Asked if Ms Ismail had been detained somewhere in Islamabad, he said instructions were being awaited in this regard.

Meanwhile, Amnesty Inter­national in a press release called for immediate and unconditional release of protesters belonging to the PTM.

In a related development, lawyers boycotted courts across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against the alleged killing of Mr Loni.

The strike was observed on the call of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council and the lawyers mostly stayed away from courts, especially in Peshawar.

In a press release, the bar council condemned the death of Arman Loni, alleging that he was killed by an ASP in Loralai.

The council criticised the media for what it said remaining silent on the matter. It called upon the government to take measures to stop such incidents and arrest the culprit at the earliest.

As the lawyers were not appearing before courts, the cases were mostly adjourned and the litigants had to appear in person.

Waseem Ahmad Shah in Peshawar also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2019