Sunday 09 December 2018

Asma Jilani Jahanghir (Member 1952-2018)

Asma Jahangir was an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and has been twice elected as Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Recently, she was named President of the Supreme Court Bar Association. She was also a Director of the AGHS Legal Aid Cell, which provides free legal assistance to the needy. Jahangir was instrumental in the formation of the Punjab Women Lawyers Association in 1980 and the Women Action Forum in 1985. She was placed under house arrest and later imprisoned for participating in the movement to restore political and fundamental rights under the military regime in 1983. Due to her efforts to secure justice for disadvantaged groups, she was frequently threatened by militant groups. Jahangir authored two books and five papers. She had received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Queen’s University, Canada, and Amherst College, USA. She also was the recipient of a number of international and national awards, among them the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1995.

She served as a leading figure in the campaign waged by the women activists against the promulgation of the controversial Hadood Ordinances and draft law on evidence. Moreover, she defended cases of discrimination against religious minorities, women and children. Ms. Jahangir represented several clients who were denied their fundamental rights. Notable amongst them are the cases she fought for brick kiln workers, who are mostly bonded labourers in Pakistan, and tried in setting for them a legislation passed through the parliament in favour of bonded workers.

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