According to Daily Pakistan, the majority of Twitterati slammed the activist and the organization over this award. One of the social media users wrote: “Whoever is against Pakistan they award him coz they know they can only undermine Pakistan through traitors but not through fight… and some traitors in cure to be awarded.”
Experts reiterate that this is not the first time it has happened because most of the Pakistanis don`t like criticism against the state, they maintain that it is also true that the authorities don`t like it either. There are a number of cases when the activists and opposing voices have been silenced through force.
And these acts make the opposition more prominent as everyone knows about them after such incidents.”[The] interminable cycle of ludicrous charges [against Gulalai Ismail`s father], arrests and court dates are nothing more than heavy-handed tactics targeting [Gulalai Ismail] — a respected rights activist,” said Human Rights Watch in a statement.
Earlier, Gulalai has also been a vocal voice against the military. She had even claimed earlier that the Pakistani army has raped girls and boys in the tribal belts during an operation against militants. These allegations were not received well in the country, especially with the context that a common Pakistani is a supporter of the military.
This is why she has been once again criticised for receiving that award, the publication said. After the news of her being criticised in the country, PTM leader Mohsin Dawar congratulated Gulalai on the achievement saying, “Truly well deserved. Despite the continued persecution and harassment of your family, you continue to stand strong in your struggle for the rights of our people. Pakhtunkhwa is proud of you. More power to you.”
Meanwhile, Ismail expressed gratitude for receiving the award and said: “I hope it brings more light to our collective resistance against war economy, militarisation and quest for truth and justice.” As per the NGO, Gulalai and her family have been facing persecution from Pakistani authorities.
Gulalai went to the US and applied for political asylum in 2019. Meanwhile, her father is in the custody of security forces and has been shifted to jail after the rejection of bail in February 2021.