US State Dept expresses concern over alleged detention of Gulalai Ismail’s father

October 25, 2019

US Assistant Secretary of State Alice G. Wells, who is also the in-charge of South Asia affairs at the US State Department, on Friday expressed concern over “reports of the continued harassment” of rights activist Gulalai Ismail’s family and her father’s alleged detention.

“We encourage Pakistan to uphold citizens’ rights to peaceful assembly, expression, and due process,” Wells said in a post shared on Twitter.

On Thursday, Ismail alleged that her father had been picked up from outside the Peshawar High Court (PHC) by “men wearing Malitia (sic) dress”.

In a post shared on Twitter today, Ismail criticised the silence of the mainstream Pakistani media following her father’s alleged abduction from the premises of the PHC.

“I’ve run out of words to condemn the criminal silence of media; it has become an ally of [the] military in imposing unannounced martial law,” she said.

In September, the New York Times reported, Ismail escaped Pakistani authorities the previous month and had reached the United States, where she applied for political asylum.

She had not disclosed how she managed to leave the country. All she revealed was: “I didn’t fly out of any airport.”

“I can’t tell you any more,” NYT quoted her as saying during an interview. “My exit story will put many lives at risk.”

According to NYT, no government officials were willing to make a public comment on the matter. Security officials had said that they had suspected Ismail had left the country.

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