Social activist’s father denied pre-arrest bail in sedition case

Published February 3, 2021
Gulalai Ismail pictured with her father Professor Muhammad Ismail. — Photo courtesy Gulalai Ismail Twitter/File
Gulalai Ismail pictured with her father Professor Muhammad Ismail. — Photo courtesy Gulalai Ismail Twitter/File

PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court here on Tuesday turned down the pre-arrest bail plea of social activist Gulalai Ismail’s father Prof Mohammad Ismail in a case registered by the counter-terrorism department on the charges of sedition and terror financing and facilitation.

It, however, accepted the similar petition of Gulalai’s mother, Uzlifat Ismail, who has also been named in the case.

After the bail denial, the CTD held Prof Ismail, who is also a social activist and a member of Pakistan NGOs Forum.

It will produce him before the court today (Wednesday) to secure his physical custody.

In July last year, the ATC had declined to indict Gulalai and her parents on the basis of an interim challan (charge sheet) over the lack of evidence in the case.

ATC however accepts similar plea of Gulalai’s mother

It had declared that as no evidence was produced by the prosecution, the charge couldn’t be framed against the accused and they were discharged under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The CTD later submitted the complete challan (charge sheet) producing more documents claiming that the accused had provided weapons and a car to terrorists that were used in attacks on Peshawar’s All Saints Church in 2013 and Hayatabad’s Imamia Masjid in 2015.

The court had indicted two petitioners on multiple charges, including sedition, waging of war against the state, facilitation of attacks on All Saints Church and Imamia Masjid, on Sept 30, 2020. They had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The CTD contended that earlier, the two accused were granted bail but on the basis of ‘further evidence’, it should be permitted to take them into custody for further interrogation.

Initially, the CTD had registered an FIR on Jul 6, 2019, under Section 11-N of the Anti-Terrorism Act wherein it had charged Gulalai Ismail and her parents of being sympathisers of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement. Subsequently, several other provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act were included in the FIR.

The complainant, CTD inspector Mohammad Ilyas, alleged that Gulalai Ismail was the chairperson of an organisation, Aware Girls, and under its cover, she had been working for anti-state elements besides financing terrorist organisations.

He added that Gulalai had opened bank accounts in the name of her parents for terror financing.

The counsel for petitioners contended that his clients were implicated in a fake case for ‘victimisation’. He said both petitioners were elderly people and suffered from multiple diseases.

The lawyer said his clients were freed in the case, so the CTD later came up with fake evidence for their further victimisation.

Gulalai Ismail had gone into hiding in May 2019 when a case was registered against her in Islamabad for allegedly defaming state institutions and inciting violence through a speech in a demonstration against killing and sexual abuse of a minor girl. She surfaced in the US in Sept 2019.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2021

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