Urgent Interventions

Abduction and enforced disappearance of Mr. Muhammad Ismail, father of defender Ms. Gulalai Ismail


New information

PAK 002 / 0719 / OBS 62.1

Abduction / Enforced disappearance/

Judicial harassment /

Obstacles to freedom of movement


October 24, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Pakistan.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about theabduction and enforced disappearance of Mr. Muhammad Ismail, father of Ms. GulalaiIsmail, and the threats and harassment against her familymembers. Ms. Ismail, an ethnic Pashtun and woman rights defender, is the founder of the Youth Peace network and co-founder and Chairperson ofthe Aware Girls NGO, an organisation aiming at strengthening the leadership ofyoung people, especially women and girls, enabling them to act as agents ofchange for women empowerment and peace building. Ms.Ismail has led a campaign against extrajudicialkillings in Pakistan and was awarded the 2017 Anna Politkovskaya Awardby the organization Reach all Women in War (RAW).

Accordingto the information received, on October 24, 2019, Mr.Muhammad Ismail was abducted by unidentified men in black clothesoutside of the High Court of Peshawar, where he was due to present himself as abail condition. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, his fate andwhereabouts remained unknown.

Duringthe night of October 17 to 18, 2019, armed police officers – some in policeuniform, and some in plain clothes with their faces hidden- knocked at Ms.Gulalai Ismail parents’ house asking for Mr. MuhammadIsmail to come out of the house, which he refused to do. The policeofficers stayed outside the house for an hour before leaving.

TheObservatory recalls that on July 12, 2019, a First Information Report (FIR) waslodged against Ms. Ismail and her parents by the Counter-Terrorism Departmentin Peshawar, accusing them of having received “financial support from terroristorganizations”. Ms. Gulalai Ismail’s parents received a Bail Before Arrest(BBA) from the court and as a condition of that BBA, must present themselves tothe court every week. Without any official notification, Ms. Ismail’s parentshave also been placed on the Exit Control List, and the immigration servicesrefused to issue a new passport to Ms. Ismail’s mother.

The Observatory condemns the suspected abduction andenforced disappearance of Mr. Muhammad Ismail, as well the ongoing harassmentagainst Ms. Gulalai Ismail’s relatives, which seem to be only aimed atpunishing Ms. Ismail for her humanrights work. The Observatory calls on the Pakistani authorities to immediatelydisclose Mr. Muhammad Ismail’s whereabouts and fate, to give him access to hisfamily and lawyer, and to unconditionally release him.


SinceOctober 2018, Ms. Gulalai Ismail has been placed onPakistan’s Exit Control List and prevented from leaving the country.

On February 5, 2019, Ms. Ismail and other Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement(PTM)[1] members were arrestedoutside the National Press Club in Islamabad while they were taking part in aprotest to denounce the killing of Mr. Ibrahim Arman Loni, a teacher and PTM core committee member in BaluchistanProvince. Ms. Ismail was first taken to G9 Women's Police Station in Islamabadbefore being moved to an unknown location, until her release on February 6,2019[2].

Ms.Gulalai Ismail was forced into hiding after facing charges of “defamation”(Section 500 of the Penal Code), “sedition” (Section 124-A of the Penal Code),“promoting enmity between different groups” (Section 153-A of the Penal Code)and other charges under Section 6/7 of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act. Thecharges stemmed from a speech she gave at a rally in Islamabad, in which shecalled for justice in the case of a 10-year-old girl who was raped and murderedin May 2019 and denounced the authorities’ inaction to bring the perpetrator(s)to justice[3].

Moreover,Ms. Ismail’s relatives have faced repeated acts of harassment and intimidationby security forces since two First Information Reports (FIRs) were filedagainst her by the police in Islamabad on May 22 and 23, 2019. For instance, onMay 24 at dawn, the police raided her family home in Islamabad and threatenedher family members. The family’s residence was again raided on May 27. Again,on July 4, 2019, a large group of men in civilian clothes raided three timesMs. Ismail’s house in Islamabad and threatened to harm Ms. Ismail’s youngersister if the former did not cease her work as an activist. Security forcesalso took away the family’s driver, interrogated him, and subjected him tophysical acts of ill-treatment for about eight hours before being released.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Pakistan, urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical integrity andpsychological well-being of Ms. Gulalai Ismail’s father and other relatives,and all human rights defenders in Pakistan;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally disclose the whereabouts and fate ofMr. Muhammad Ismail;

iii. Conduct an immediate, thorough and independent investigation intothe circumstances surrounding Mr. Muhammad Ismail’s suspected abduction andenforced disappearance;

iv. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judiciallevel and restrictions on the freedom of movement - against Ms. GulalaiIsmail’s relatives and all human rights defenders in Pakistan, and ensure thatthey are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindranceand fear of reprisals in all circumstances;

v. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9,1998, in particular with Articles 1 and 12.2;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamentalfreedoms in accordance with international human rights standards andinternational instruments ratified by Pakistan.


· Mr. Arif Alvi, Presidentof Pakistan; Fax: +92 51 920 8479; Email:

· Mr. Imran Khan, PrimeMinister of Pakistan, Minister in Charge for Interior and Narcotics Control;Fax: +92 51 922 04 04; Email:

· Mr. Ijaz Shah,Minister of State for Interior, Fax: +92 51 920 2624, Email:

· Ambassador Farukh Amil,Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Fax:022734 80 85; Email:

Please also write to thediplomatic mission or embassy of Pakistan located in your country.


Paris-Geneva, October 24, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertakenquoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 byFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of thisprogramme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rightsdefenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call theemergency line:


Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT + 4122 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] PTM is an alliance thatcalls for the de-mining of the former tribal areas, greater freedom of movementin these areas, an end to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances andarbitrary detentions, and for the accountability of perpetrators of such actswithin a truth and reconciliation framework.

[2] See Observatory UrgentAppeal PAK 001 / 0219 / OBS 015, published on February 14, 2019.

[3] On May 15, 2019, 10-yearold girl Farishta went missing near her home in Islamabad. Her parents reportedher disappearance the same day, but it took four days for the police toregister a FIR on the disappearance, and a proper search was not launched. Herbody was finally found in a forest on May 21, 2019, leading to public outcry. @font-face { font-family: "MS Mincho";}@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math";}@font-face { font-family: OpenSymbol;}@font-face { font-family: "@MS Mincho";}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }h1 { margin: 24pt 0cm 0.0001pt 21.6pt; text-indent: -21.6pt; break-after: avoid; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; font-weight: normal; }p.MsoFootnoteText, li.MsoFootnoteText, div.MsoFootnoteText { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }p.MsoHeader, li.MsoHeader, div.MsoHeader { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }p.MsoFooter, li.MsoFooter, div.MsoFooter { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { color: rgb(149, 79, 114); text-decoration: underline; }p { margin: 14pt 0cm; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman", serif; }span.Heading1Char { }span.Caractresdenotedebasdepage { vertical-align: super; }span.WW-FootnoteReference1 { vertical-align: super; }span.WW-FootnoteReference3 { vertical-align: super; }span.Appelnotedebasdep7 { vertical-align: super; }span.FooterChar { }span.HeaderChar { }span.FootnoteTextChar { }span.msoIns { text-decoration: underline; color: teal; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 10pt; }div.WordSection1 { }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; }

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