Pashtun rights activist Gulalai Ismail detained at Islamabad airport

Pashtun rights activist Gulalai Ismail detained at Islamabad airportRights activist Gulalai Ismail was detained by airport officials in Islamabad following her return from London on Friday morning.

The development was confirmed to DawnNewsTV by Islamabad International Airport officials and Ismail.

Ismail, while speaking to DawnNewsTV, said that when she returned to Islamabad, she was told by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials that her name was on the Exit Control List.

Subsequently, the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) member said she had been detained at the airport while FIA officials said they were preparing some “necessary documents”.

Airport sources said the FIA took Ismail into custody upon her arrival in Islamabad after her Qatar Airways flight. They added that the PTM activist’s name was on the ECL.

After Ismail lost contact with DawnNewsTV, her father said the FIA had arrested her and will hand her over to Swabi police officials who are currently on their way to Islamabad.

Amnesty International, a human rights organisation, has called for Ismail’s immediate release.

Swabi police on Aug 13 registered an FIR against 19 PTM leaders, including Ismail, for their involvement in a public gathering in Swabi where PTM’s Manzoor Pashteen and Ismail both addressed the crowd.

PTM leaders said that they had already challenged the FIR in the Peshawar High Court and the next hearing of the case is on Oct 25.

Ismail, a Pashtun and women’s rights activist, was in 2017 awarded the Reach all Women in War Anna Politovskaya Award.

She co-founded a non-governmental organisation, Aware Girls, with her sister Saba Ismail in 2002. The organisation aims to strengthen the leadership skills of young people, especially women and girls, enabling them to act as agents of change for women empowerment and peace building and to fight for their rights.

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