The Peshawar High Court has said that Pakistani citizens have no right to speak against the state, as they are bound to “respect and follow” the laws of the country.

The acting chief justice of the PHC, Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan, made these remarks while hearing a plea of Prof Ismail– the father of activist Gulalai Ismail — against the cancellation of his bail, reported

The acting CJ said that citizens cannot be granted the right by the court to criticise the state. During the hearing on November 23, the deputy attorney general told the court that Prof Ismail posted ‘anti-state tweets’ on his social media account.


As per the prosecution, Prof Ismail had posted on Twitter: “When the TikTok star Hareem Shah can enter the Foreign Office, the country does not fulfill the definition of a state.”

At this, the judge said such remarks were “unbecoming of a teacher”, adding these messages would have an adverse impact on his students as well. The judge said a citizen was bound to respect and follow the laws of the state. The judge addressed Prof Ismail and said that he should not misuse the relief if he’s granted bail.

When the judge summoned Prof Ismail to the rostrum, the latter spoke in a harsher tone. This irked the judge, who said the petitioner called himself a teacher, but he did not even know how to talk. The lawyer tried to handle the situation and said his client was suffering from high blood pressure and that his family was facing harassment allegedly by the law enforcement agencies.

Nevertheless, the court sought an apology from the petitioner and adjourned further hearings until Friday, November 27.

Prof Ismail was granted conditional bail by the PHC in Oct 2019. A single-member bench of the high court, comprising Justice Qaiser Rasheed, had instructed Prof Ismail to “be careful” in the future while asking him to submit a surety of Rs100,000 as well as personal guarantees from two individuals, a report in Dawn said.

Gulalai Ismail’s parents are facing charges of financing terrorism, allegedly for funneling money from their daughter toward terrorist activities. They deny the charges and are currently out on bail but have been ordered not to leave Pakistan.

In October this year, an anti-terrorism court in Peshawar had indicted the parents of rights activist and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) leader Gulalai Ismail ‘on charges of actively aiding’ two terrorist attacks carried out by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in 2013 and 2015.