Bolo Bhi mourns the demise of one of the most persistent and principled defenders of human rights in Pakistan and the world over, Asma Jahangir, in Lahore as a result of cardiac arrest.
Starting her struggle for democracy from her time in school where she successfully petitioned the administration to introduce elections for choosing the head girl – to standing up against laws oppressing women and unconstitutional usurping of power by military dictators; she led by example on how to demand fundamental rights without cowing down to pressure.
Asma’s defense of the right to freedom of speech was based on principles of equality and justice, and embodied the spirit of defending the freedom of speech no matter how much one disagrees with another. This is an important principle to live by for a democratic, tolerant, and pluralist society, something she stood for till her last breath.
She was always helpful in advocacy regarding the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (2016), and we are devastated by the news of losing one of our mentors. She leaves behind a strong legacy through her contributions to women’s rights through the Women’s Action Forum (WAF), advocacy and scrutiny through the Human Rights Commission Pakistan (HRCP), her leading role in the lawyers movement for restoration of democracy, becoming the first female president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and her relentless defence of minority rights, laying strong groundwork for the rights movement in Pakistan to continue with strength. Rest in Power, Asma Jahangir.