ISLAMABAD - French Ambassador to Pakistan Philippe Thiebaud conferred the highest French award  “Officer de la Legion d,Honneur” on leading human rights activist Asma Jahangir for her excellent role in protecting rights of women and minorities at a simple ceremony at his residence here on Tuesday. “You are truly a woman who deserves this award,” which was introduced in France two centuries ago by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

. , he told a select gathering as he pinned the award on Asma’s shoulder, amidst clapping by the participants, who included among others, Senator Afrasyab Khattak and Lt Gen(Retd) Talat Masood.   

The envoy said Asma’s role in promoting rule of law, human rights and protection of women and children rights in Pakistan with dedication, had been impressive.

“Your action is a major boost in the rule of law in Pakistani society,” said the French envoy while heaping praise on her for doing, what she did, as President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and member of human rights associations working for protecting rights of women and children.

He told the participants this was going to be his last official event as he would be leaving for France next Sunday at the end of his diplomatic assignment in Islamabad.

In her brief remarks, Asma Jahangir said it had been tough for her to fight for rights of the helpless in a male dominated profession but she did play her role in some difficult situations.

Referring to sit-ins in Islamabad by Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT), Asma said she raised her voice against them because she wanted stability in the country.

Asma said if one looked back into past, one would realise that the change had already taken place as Pakistan had been through very difficult times when newspapers have, had their pages blank because of Press censorship. However, she would not like anybody to force the change through illegal means.