November 24th, 2020 

Bureau Report


While hearing the appeal of activist Gulalai Ismail’s father against the cancelation of bail, the Peshawar High Court (PHC) observed that no citizen has any right to speak against the State, and the court would not grant anyone this right either.

Acting Chief Justice PHC, Qaiser Rashid Khan, gave these comments on November 23, during the appeal against bail cancellation against Prof Muhammad Ismail, father of Gulalai Ismail, November 23. The deputy attorney general had told the court that Prof Ismail posted anti-state tweets on his Twitter account. Acting Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan remarked what effect such messages would have on students if a professor spoke against the State, adding that anti-State statements were unbecoming of a teacher. The judge said a citizen was bound to respect and follow the laws of the State.

“When the TikTok star Hareem Shah can enter the Foreign Office, the country does not fulfill the definition of a State,” said the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) quoting a tweet said to be posted by Prof Ismail on his account. The judge addressed the petitioner and said that he should not misuse the leniency of the court if he is granted bail.

The Chief Justice then asked Prof Ismail to approach the rostrum, but the academic spoke a little aggressively which irked the judge. He stated that the petitioner called himself a teacher yet did not even know how to talk. The petitioner’s lawyer contended that his client was suffering from high blood pressure as his family had been harassed for a long time. Nevertheless, the court sought an apology from the petitioner and adjourned further hearings until Friday, November 27.

In a tweet, Gulalai Ismail contended that the judge had questioned her father’s tweet of April 21, expressing his opinion about why the three judges’ commission 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,” Gulalai quoted her father’s tweet which she said was in reply to Hamid Mir and Matiuallah Jan.