LAHORE    -   The second edition of Asma Jahangir Conference began under the aegis of AGHS Legal Aid Cell at a local hotel on Friday.

The first-half of the pre-event conference was titled ‘Moving Closer to 2030 – SDGs, Gender Equality, and the Justice Gap. The panel was composed of eminent speakers from England, including Baroness Helena Kennedy QC,FRSA, Director of International Bar Associations Human Rights Institute, HHJ Khatoon Sapnara, Circuit Judge in England and Wales and authorised to act as a High Court Judge in England and Wales, Shona Jolly QC, Chair of the Human Rights Committee and Head of Cloisters Human Rights Practice Group and Barrister Zimran Samuel, Human Rights Practitioner in Children and International Law.

The even included a discussion on the place of women in the practice of law and the challenges for women in the criminal justice system. Following lunch, the second half of the pre-conference lecture series called “Crimes against Women and the Criminal Justice System of Pakistan” was held at the same hotel.

The panel of speakers was composed of Justice of the Lahore High Court Shehram Sarwar, Former Justice and Prosecutor Syed Ehtisham Qadir Shah, Mr Harris Azmat, Advocate Supreme Court, Miss Sara Malkani, Advocate and Legal Expert from Karachi. The Panel was moderated by Ms Meenal Munshey from Beirut, Lebanon, with an expert degree in criminology.

The attendees consisted of an audience of women lawyers from all over Pakistan and Learned Judges from Lahore. The women lawyers included members of the Bars in Tharparkar, Chitral, Swat, Bajaur, Tanli, South Waziristan, Miran Shah, Peshawar, Swabi, Mardan, Mansehra, Dera Ismael Khan, Kohat, Jammu, Nowshera, Buner, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Vehari, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Sukher, Khairpur, Meerut and Khuzder.

The conference concluded after a thorough interaction of women lawyers and other justice sector personnel whereas it was resolved to improve and elevate the current position of women in the justice system and their ability to access justice.

The prominent personalities attending the conference on Saturday and Sunday included European Union Ambassador Androulla Kaminara, Human Rights Ambassador (Netherlands) Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Barrister, Broadcaster and Labour Member of the House of Lords Baroness Kennedy, Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Barrister Maleeka Bokhari, BNP-M leader Akhtar Mengal, Acting CJP Gulzar Ahmed, Khurram Dastagir Khan, and Nasim Zehra, ex-SCBA President Ali Ahmed Kurd, Dr Hafeez Pasha, Salima Hashmi, Hamid Mir, Journalist Owen Bennett Jones, Nepalese journalist and founder of Himal South Asian magazine Kanax Mani Dixit and Steven Butler of the Committee to Protect Journalists.