Pakistanis lost their biggest asset a year ago: In memory of Asma Jehangir

Pakistanis lost their biggest asset a year ago: In memory of Asma Jehangir

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Speakers have paid rich tributes to human rights activist Asma Jehangir for her heroic struggle and challenging the tyrannical forces in the country.

They claimed that today there was an undeclared martial law in the country.

They were speaking at Asma Jehangir’s first death anniversary organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Special Task Force (STF) for Sindh here Sunday at local press club.

STF coordinator Prof Imdad Chandio presented resolutions, vowing to continue struggle of Asma Jehangir for human rights, civil liberties, democracy and freedom of expression.

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD It condemned rights violations and said freedom of express of media was being curbed.

The resolution demanded an end to sacking of journalists in media houses.

Condemning murder of JST leader Irshad Ranjhani, it demanded arrest of his killer and a thorough judicial probe into the incident.

It called for an end to enforced disappearances in Sindh and punishment for murderer of Ramsha Wassan.

It said women should be posted in every police station.

It announced that an action committee at Hyderabad level was being formed against social injustices and rights violations.

Jahangir was born in Lahore in January 1952.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Kinnaird College and an LLB from Punjab University. She was called to the Lahore High Court in 1980 and to the Supreme Court in 1982. She later went on to become the first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

She became a pro-democracy activist and was jailed in 1983 for participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, which agitated against military dictator Ziaul Haq’s regime.

She was also active in the 2007 Lawyers’ Movement, for which she was put under house arrest.

She co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and the Women’s Action Forum.

She received several awards, including a Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2010 and a Sitara-i-Imtiaz. She was also awarded a Unesco/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights and an Officier de la Légion d’honneur by France.

She also received the 2014 Right Livelihood Award and the 2010 Freedom Award from the International Rescue Committee.

Sindh’s former advocate general and veteran lawyer Yusuf Leghari said it was anarchy when institutions that were supposed to protect people failed to discharge their responsibility.

He said Asma Jehangir had left a vacuum in Sindh but there was a hope in shape of Arfana Mallah and Amar Sindhu.

He said Asma Jehagnir was a powerful character.

He said society became non political if there was ban on media, students/workers unions and literature. It was time to save society becoming apolitical.

He maintained that united efforts were needed in the wake of Ramsha and Irshad Ranjhani murders.

Arfana Mallah said that Asma Jehangir was a revolutionary who never valued her life. She said she always raised voice fearlessly.

She said Asma had always challenged dictatorship, establishment and censorship on media. She claimed that today there was an undeclared martial in the country and everyone looked scared in the society.

She said that no one was afraid of jail or cases today, but fear of a peculiar kind was being created. She said that fear of being disappeared would have to be done away with.

She said that society would have to stand up for Tanveer Arijo whose father remained missing to date.

Amar Sindhu said that human rights were incomplete without Asma Jehangir because it was she who had introduced the concept of human rights in the country. She said that she stood for women and peasants rights. She added that Asma Jehangir had provided human rights framework for Pakistani politics. She said that she also led political forces through her movement and voice.

She said that whenever outgoing chief justice of Pakistan spoke about dams one always missed Asma Jehangir.

She said Irshad Ranjhani succumbed to his injuries.

She maintained that this blood might be lost in courtroom like other cases. She said that often a war won on roads was lost in courtroom.

National Party leader Comrade Taj Mari said that Asma led a historic struggle against peasants’ slavery. He said that she had played anti establishment role in Pakistani politics and supported democracy.

A leader from Balochistan, Malik Inayat said that ‘fascist rulers’ were thrust over the country over the last 70 years.

He said that retired army officers had occupied land and establishment had suppressed all classes in the country.

Noted writer Atia Dawood said that Asma had raised voice for women and human rights equally.

She had challenged dictators and she lived every moment of her life of her own will, she said.

The others who also spoke at the programme were Zafar Junejo, Prof Mushtaq Mirani, Mahesh Kumar, Abdul Majeed Chandio, Veeru Kohli Sanam Chandio, Javed Soz and others.

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