In a country besieged by powerful elite who find it beneficial to side with forces of status quo, Asma Jehangir like her father Malik Ghulam Jillani had the courage to stand up for what she believed in. She offered her services to thousands of women and members of minorities to protect their basic human rights and even to those with whom she had ideological differences because she believed in constitutional right of every citizen to have free trial. Asma was a nationalist who refused to accept any other nationality, which temptation many who criticize her could not resist. RIP Asma Jehangir. Thousands of Pakistanis will miss and pray for you.

She opposed every military dictator, while they held power, just like her late father and was acclaimed internationally for her services to human rights. Those, who remember her father, would be aware that he wrote a letter to Gen Yahya Khan criticizing his decision to embark on military operation in East Pakistan and warning him of consequences. Earlier Malik Ghulam Jillani stood like a rock in support of Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah when she stood against Ayub Khan in 1965 indirect Presidential elections. Asma Jehangir was amongst few who opposed Zia ul Haq and his misadventure in Afghanistan which has engulfed this country in scourge of extremism, fundamentalism and cancer of terrorism. She was critical of Musharraf and every civil or military dictator for their policies which violated basic fundamental rights of citizens of Pakistan. Asma believed in Quaid’s vision of a modern democratic welfare state where every citizen would enjoy equal rights irrespective of their faith, beliefs, ethnicity or sex and the designated role of paid civil and uniformed servants of state to confine themselves to their specified defined roles as laid down in constitution. For her principles she went to prison but refused to submit to what she believed was tyranny.


Lahore, February 13.