Standing Firm in Truth: The Legacy of Asma Jahangir

Blog by Associate Colette Parker

The world has lost a powerful voice for peace and justice.

Asma Jahangir, a steadfast champion of human rights and women’s rights, and a pro-democracy activist, passed away on Sunday. After her death, many people took to social media to offer condolences:

  • “Heartbroken that we lost Asma Jahangir – a saviour of democracy and human rights…” (Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai ).
  • “Asma Jahangir was the bravest person I knew. She fearlessly stood up to dictators, thugs, misogynists. She was never daunted by the attacks that came her way. She never wavered from her principles. Her loss is incalculable.” (Amnesty International’s South Asia director Omar Waraich).
  • “What a brave woman. Pakistan is poorer without her. People like Asma are anchors of a society.” (Pakistani Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja M. Asif)
  • “A horrible loss for all of us. Will miss her incredible courage in insisting that human rights cannot be comprised, ever.” (Human Rights Watch South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly).
  • “Asma Jehangir’s death is a loss of a strong voice for the marginalised and oppressed. Despite our differences I always respected her for her fight for human rights and for standing up for her convictions.” (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan)
  • “ ‘Speaking truth to power’ a phrase, we often use. #AsmaJahangir lived, practiced till her last breath. Questioned mullahs, military, judges, politicians, all the powerful; defended downtrodden. Faced threats & attacks. Was never afraid. What a hero. We have to contend with a void.” (Pakistani Daily Times editor Raza Ahmad Rumi).

Jahangir, a prominent Pakistani human rights advocate and attorney, was fearless in speaking loudly against those attacking minority religions and women. She braved death threats, imprisonment, and beatings as she pushed for human rights.

What a great example of believing deeply in what you say and fighting every day to have that heard – speaking truth to power, taking a risk to stand for something – whether or not it’s convenient, popular, or dangerous..

In remembering Asma Jahangir, I am committed to following her great example of fighting for those who are marginalized and oppressed and of being a pillar of truth and light.

I invite you to do the same.

Posted in Associate Blog, News

5 responses to “Standing Firm in Truth: The Legacy of Asma Jahangir

  1. Colette,
    I saw the notice of her death and was saddened by her passing. She was such a champion for women’s and human rights in Pakistan and around the world. She used her education, position and spirit to make a difference on a local and national level. She is someone I wish I knew more about – thank you for your reflections.
    May all those working for human rights be strengthened and encouraged by her example.

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