Pakistani human rights activist and leader of 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 last month, 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.”
She has been accused of treason, though human rights defenders said that the allegations were bogus and that she was being targeted for highlighting abuses allegedly committed by Pakistani military.
Security services were searching for her in every corner of the country, raiding her friends’ houses and closing in on her family, Gulalai said.
According to the report, “Gulalai is still worried about her parents back home and the underground network that secretly protected her as she moved from house to house, city to city, through countless police checkpoints, always wearing a veil over her face, her eyes barely visible.”
Her asylum request is supported by US Senator Charles Schumer, who said he would do everything to get the activist political asylum in the country. “It is clear that her life would be in danger if she were to return to Pakistan.”
She has launched a research and advocacy group called Voices for Peace and Democracy aimed at protecting women in the conflict-hit zones of the world. “She is also thinking of law school,” reported NYT.