PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court here on Wednesday adjourned trial of parents of social activist Gulalai Ismail, charged with sedition and terrorists financing and facilitation.

The court recorded statements of two prosecution witnesses and adjourned the proceedings till August 3.

Gulalai’s father Prof Mohammad Ismail, also a known social activist, appeared before the court without his lawyers as they did not turn up owing to strike.

Advocate Syed Azizuddin Kakakhel appeared for the prosecution.

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has charged Gulalai and her parents in an FIR registered on July 6, 2019. In July last year, 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.

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 charge sheet and produced 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 Gulalai’s parents on multiple charges including sedition, waging of war against the state, facilitation of attacks on All Saints Church and Imamia Masjid on September 30, 2020. They had pleaded not guilty to the charges and have now been facing trial.

Initially, CTD had registered an FIR 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.

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, July 29th, 2021

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