No one is allowed to speak against the state, says Peshawar High Court

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The Peshawar High Court on Monday held that no citizen is allowed to speak against the state, and the Court will not give this right to anybody. 

In the hearing of the petition filed by Prof. Ismail, activist Gulalai Ismail’s father, against the cancellation of the bail, the acting Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court Qaiser Rashid Khan on Monday held that no one has the right to speak against the state, and the Court will not give this right to anybody. 

The Deputy Attorney General (DAG) had told the court that Prof. Ismail had allegedly posted anti-state posts on his Twitter account, to which the Chief Justice PHC remarked that such anti-state comments are unbecoming of a teacher, and what effects they will have on the students. The judge said that every citizen is bound to respect and abide by the laws and rules of the state. 

The DAG quoted one of the allegedly indecorous tweets posted by the professor, saying that when the TikTok star Hareem Shah can enter the Foreign Office, the country does not fulfil the definition of a state. To this, the Chief Justice addressed the petitioner, saying that he should not misuse the leniency allowed by the Court in case he is granted bail. 

The Chief Justice then asked the petitioner to approach the podium. The professor reportedly took the opportunity and started talking aggressively, to which the irked judge remarked that the petitioner does not know how to talk properly, yet he calls himself a ‘teacher.’

The professor’s lawyer attributed his behaviour to high blood pressure issues, saying that his family has been harassed for a long time, which served as an impetus for his behaviour in the courtroom. 

The Court sought an apology from the petitioner and adjourned the hearing till November 27th. 

The exiled human rights activist Gulalai Ismail said on Twitter that the Court had questioned one of her father’s tweets of April, in which he had questioned why the commission of the three judges on the attack on journalist Hamid Mir had not made its report public. 

“Yes, he was very much right. But now it has become very known to each and everyone that Pakistan does fulfill the criteria of a modern democratic State”, the professor had replied to Journalists Hamid Mir and Matiullah Jan. According to Gulali Ismail, this was the tweet that prompted the strict legal response against her father. 

Gulalai Ismail, an outspoken critic of human rights abuses, fled Pakistan in 2019 and reached the United States after being accused of “anti-state activities”, “treason” and “inciting violence.” Human rights defenders have termed these allegations as “baseless” and “bogus.” She reportedly had six cases filed against her in the courts. She decided that her life was in danger and escaped to US. 

Hailing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ms Ismail has been a human rights campaigner since her teenage. She attracted authorities’ attention when she started raising voices for the victims of sexual assault of an army crackdown near the Afghanistan border.


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