Our response to the arrest of peacebuilder Gulalai Ismail

Since the arrest of Gulalai Ismail in Pakistan this morning, we have been deeply concerned and are continuing to monitor the situation very closely.

Since being arrested this morning in Islamabad, we have been informed by our local contacts in Islamabad that Gulalai has been released on bail and her passport has been taken.

Gulalai is a champion of peaceful action and non-violence. When she was just 16, she co-founded Aware Girls, our local partner organisation in Pakistan. Through their work, young people have been encouraged to promote tolerance and non-violence in their communities. We condemn her arrest, which not only infringed upon her freedom of movement and freedom of speech, but civic space in Pakistan more broadly. 

“We were deeply saddened and troubled to hear the news of Gulalai’s arrest this morning. Gulalai believes in peace, and continues to build it in spite of limits to her freedom and safety. Just as she is dedicated to building safer communities and supporting young people to turn away from violence, we are dedicated to standing behind her,“ said Dylan Mathews, CEO at Peace Direct.

In an audio statement issued after her arrest, Gulalai called this a concerning example of “shrinking space of civil society and civil society voices.”

We underline the need to put all our efforts behind building and sustaining a diverse, engaged and open civil society, and protecting all human rights and efforts to build peace.




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