Peace Direct expresses our full solidarity with Gulalai Ismail, and we condemn the recent charges brought against her by the Pakistani government after she spoke out at a protest following a horrific crime committed against a 10-year-old girl.
On 22 May 2019, police in Islamabad, Pakistan filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Gulalai Ismail, founder of Peace Direct’s long-term peacebuilding partner organisation in Pakistan, Aware Girls. Gulalai, along with many other human rights defenders and members of the public that had recently spoken out against the abduction, rape and murder of a 10-year old girl, whose body was discovered on 21 May. Gulalai has since been charged with a number of offences, and blacklisted, which prevents her from travelling for 30 days.
Please sign this international petition and share this message with others in support of Gulalai.
These reports are deeply concerning. A dedicated peacebuilder, Gulalai should be free to carry out her valuable work without interruption or resistance. Limits to Gulalai’s freedom, as well as charges brought against her, limit her ability to share her knowledge and increase young people’s understanding of the options for turning away from violent ideologies in the conservative tribal province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Since being founded, Aware Girls has changed the lives of over 10,000 young people, giving them an alternative to violence and showing that peace is possible. They deliver training sessions to young people on a variety of issues, from non-violence, to the political participation of girls and women. Simply put, restricting the work of peacebuilders like Gulalai not only threatens young people’s futures, but also those of their families and communities, who rely on them to be active promoters of peace in their own lives.