Stories about Asma Jahangir

Remembering Asma Jahangir: A democrat in a country that loved dictators

“Pakistan cannot live in isolation. We cannot remain shackled while other women progress.” – Asma Jahangir A year ago, when the news came in that Jahangir had passed away, I felt like I no longer recognised the legal system I had worked so hard to become a part of. To understand why, let me tell you a little bit about who Jahangir was. Jahangir was a woman who was born a democrat in a country that loved dictators. The Convent of Jesus and Mary may have been the first to discover this. The Convent had a system for selecting their head girl ...

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Why 2018 will go down as an unforgettable year in Pakistan’s democratic history

This year can rightfully be termed the year of change for Pakistan. After all, the General Elections held this year saw the rise of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) into the power corridors. While the political temperature in Pakistan remains high despite the cold weather of December, the following are glimpses of the main political events that had an impact on Pakistan’s political dispensation this year.  January: US President Donald Trump lashed out at Pakistan in a tweet and withheld aid worth millions of dollars. February: Renowned human rights lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir passed away. March: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Nihal Hashmi, Talal ...

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Human Rights Day: What will you ‘celebrate’, Pakistan?

Every year, December 10th is marked as the Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that lists down basic human rights guaranteed to the population of the world. This year marks the 70th anniversary of this resolution. It is important to note that sustainable growth is not achievable until and unless the human rights of the world are protected. Besides commemorating 70 years of the resolution, we should vow to stand for the civil, economic, political and cultural rights of our people; after all, ...

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Because ‘court is no place for women’

For most female legal practitioners in Pakistan, sexism and misogyny are an unavoidable occupational hazard. It usually begins during their very first job interview when they are asked questions that no male employee is asked and are actively discouraged from pursuing a career that they have worked hard to earn a degree in. “We don’t encourage women to go to court,” is what a partner at one of the biggest law firms in Lahore told a female colleague of mine during a job interview. You could be the most eloquent orator that this country has ever seen, and they’d ...

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To the women of Pakistan: Get out there, march and reclaim your space!

For this year’s International Women’s Day, Pakistani women from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad have decided to stick it out together, get out on the streets of their respective cities, and march to reclaim their space in the public sphere. The event, called the Aurat March, is planned and organised entirely by a diverse group of women belonging to different ethnicities, classes and sections of our society. The march itself is not linked to a particular organisation, nor is it initiated or funded by any political parties or groups, and all women (and men) are welcome! #AuratMarch 4pm 8th March 2018. ...

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There could only be one Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s valiant moral compass

Last year, I wrote an article praising a person who I consider to be my most favourite Pakistani, Ms Asma Jahangir. In that article, I wrote how courageous she was and how she had taken principled liberal stances throughout her life. Due to this, her support for any political party or institution was not constant. She supported the judiciary during the lawyers’ movement and was its fiercest critics later on when she found out that judiciary under former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Chaudhry was overstepping its constitutional authority. She supported Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) point of view ...

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PML-N is cultivating a sexist and misogynist culture, but PTI is no better either

A few weeks ago, I had written an article lamenting the misogyny in our politics, which is actually a more accentuated reflection of the level of misogyny in our entire society. The Javed Latif incident had shamed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and made them defensive. I had hoped that due to the negative publicity, the ruling party would adopt a more careful approach in the future and avoid ridiculing rival women politicians. However, it seems that PML-N, which is already in a lot of legal and self-created problems (the Nehal Hashmi outburst is an example), does not plan on learning from their mistakes. After the Latif incident, ...

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Why politicians like Javed Latif use women to humiliate opponents

“Mein nahi kehna chata ke log jo batein is ke mutaliq karte hain. Woh kehte hain ke us ki do choti behenein hain unka Imran Khan ke saath kia taluq hai aur kyun ana jana hai, mein nahi kehna chata.” (I don’t want to repeat what people say about this matter. They say that he has two younger sisters and ask what relation they have with Imran Khan and why they visit him so often, I don’t want to say.) This statement was made by none other than Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Javed Latif. The utterly filthy content almost made ...

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Women should depend on men for mobility? WoW!

Owing to the fast-paced nature of the world and domestic economic strains, women are no longer confined to the domestic sphere but are seen venturing out into the public. While some say women are taking back the wheel, it can be argued that it is not reclamation that is taking place but for once, it’s an assertion of the female right to belong in the streets. The ‘Women on Wheels’ (WoW) rally is a perfect example of this. On January 10, 2016, 150 women took a huge step. They swerved onto the streets of Lahore on motorcycles after training with ...

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Fathers will continue to murder their 12-year-old daughters

The statistics available on domestic violence and other forms of violence against women are startling. According to a NIPS survey, 37 per cent of those surveyed experienced violence – 57 per cent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). More than half of the women who have ever experienced physical violence have never sought help or told anyone about the violence. Forty three per cent of women stated that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she argues with him, neglects the children, refuses to have sex with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the in-laws, or burns the food. The stories highlighted by the media ...

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