Gulalai Ismail, a Pashtun human rights activist from Khyber Pakhtuknwa’s Swabi district, has been awarded Anna Politkovskaya Award by the Reach all Women in War (RAW), said a RAW report.
Gauri Lankesh, a journalist and critical of right-wing groups in India – was also posthumously awarded the 2017 Anna Politkovskaya Award. She was killed by unidentified assailants in the Indian city of Bengaluru last month.
Gulalai Ismail founded Aware Girls with her sister Saba Islmail to challenge the culture of violence and the oppression of women in the rural peripheries of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The organization aimed at providing girls and young women with leadership skills to challenge oppression and fight for their rights.
Speaking on the occasion, Gulalai said, “I am accepting this award because just like Anna, I am also refusing to be silenced by adversity, violence and extremism.” “Speaking out for our rights and speaking out against religious extremism is our fundamental right, no one should have to choose between the right to Speak and the right to life.”
Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel laureate and winner of 2013 Anna Politkovskaya Award, praised Gulalai’s work, saying, “Through Aware Girls, Gulalai is training young women to advocate for their rights. Her work is fostering the next generation of female leaders in our country.”
“Despite discrimination and danger, Gulalai is continuing her fight to see every girl go to school.”