An anti-terrorism court in Peshawar on Wednesday acquitted social activist Gulalai Ismail’s parents in a case registered by the counter-terrorism department on the charges of sedition, terror financing and facilitation. Pronouncing the reserved verdict, ATC Judge Fazal Sattar declared that charges against Professor Mohammad Ismail and his wife could not be proven.
Commenting on the development, North Waziristan lawmaker and Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) leader Mohsin Dawar said that Gulalai’d parents had been “harassed and persecuted” for far too long. “Their resolve remains unshaken,” he said and congratulated the activist. Ahead of the verdict, Gulalai tweeted that her parents were put on a “torturous trial”.
The CTD had charged Gulalai and her parents in a first information report (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 then indicted Gulalai’s parents on multiple charges including sedition, waging war against the state, and facilitation of attacks on All Saints Church and Imamia Masjid on September 30, 2020. They had pleaded not guilty to the charges and were later 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 the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement. Subsequently, several other provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act were included in the FIR.