Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) Gulalai Ismail who was wanted by law enforcement agencies for her alleged involvement in ‘anti-state activities’, has sought asylum in the United States after she managed to escape to New York.
New York Times reported on Thursday. “She is now staying with her sister in Brooklyn and has applied for political asylum in the United States,” the report added.
Gulalai didn’t reveal how she escaped the country. “I didn’t fly out of any airport,” she commented on her journey. I can’t tell you anymore,” she said in an interview this week. “My exit story will put many lives at risk as they secretly protected me in moving from house to house, city to city, through countless police checkpoints, always wearing a veil over face.”
In November, Ismail was detained by federal agents after landing at Islamabad airport. She was released on bail, but authorities confiscated her passport and placed her on the Exit Control List.
She was reportedly arrested by the Koral police in Peshawar in June this year. Two cases have been registered against her in Islamabad under the anti-terrorism act for delivering ‘anti-state’ speeches.
Gulalai, a Pashtun and women’s rights activist, was in 2017 awarded the ‘Reach all Women in War’ Anna Politovskaya Award.
She co-founded a non-governmental organisation, Aware Girls, with sister Saba Ismail in 2002. The organisation aims to strengthen the leadership skills of young people, especially women and girls, enabling them to act as agents of change for women empowerment and peace building.