On Wednesday, a Pakistani court acquitted the parents of an exiled female human rights activist, Mohammad and Uzlifat Ismail, of terror financing and sedition charges. The couple had been arrested in 2019 in Peshawar, drawing widespread condemnation and a statement of concern from the U.S. State Department. According to their lawyer, Shabbir Hussain Gigyan, the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence.
Mohammad Ismail is a teacher and social activist, while his daughter Gulalai fled to the U.S. in 2019 to avoid harassment from Pakistani security agencies due to her investigations into alleged human rights abuses by soldiers. In recent years, activists and journalists in Pakistan have come under attack from the government and security establishment, limiting the space for criticism and dissent. Criticizing the military can lead to threats, intimidation, sedition charges, and even arrests without warning.