Pakistani court acquits parents of treason activist

PESHAWAR, Pakistan—A Pakistani court on Wednesday acquitted the parents of a deported women’s rights activist, a defense attorney said.

The 2019 arrest of Gurray Ismail’s parents, Mohammad and Uzrifat Ismail, in the northwestern city of Peshawar was widely condemned. The US State Department also expressed concern over the arrests.

An anti-terrorism court on Wednesday acquitted the couple after prosecutors failed to substantiate the charges, according to the couple’s attorney, Shabir Hussein Gigian.

Mohammad Ismail is a teacher and social activist. His daughter fled to the United States in 2019, where she sought asylum to avoid harassment by Pakistani security services over her investigation into alleged human rights abuses by soldiers.

In recent years, Pakistani activists and journalists have come under increasing pressure from government and security agencies, limiting their scope for criticism and dissent. Criticism of the military can result in intimidation, intimidation, sedition and even arrest without warning.