Remembering Asma

She was merely 18 years old when she began and never looked back. Like charity, her struggle began at home when she moved court against dictatorship and won and continued from representing kiln workers to blasphemy accused and women rights. That was only the beginning of a long and tireless journey that Asma Jahangir took for the poor and downtrodden weak and proved that what great feats could be accomplished if one stays fearlessly true to their moral principles. In her 66 years, Asma could not be silenced. She spoke out bravely and with immense courage for all the oppressed people of the country, essentially acting as the conscience of Pakistan. Only her sudden death could silence her and steal away from us the bravest of the brave this country has produced.

Often times, her battle for democracy included standing up against the establishment and those hidden in the upper-most echelons of power, moves that came at great costs to her. Yet Asma has always been a woman who has never relented to public opinion or pressure. In a country where women are told to be shushed away, she was a voice to heard. By facilitating Pakistan’s women’s rights movements in the 1980s and 2000’s, co-founding the very first all-women’s legal firm, as well as Pakistan’s first free legal aid clinic to help destitute and oppressed women; not to mention becoming Pakistan’s first female bar council president. Not only did she pave the way for women to enter the legal profession, which they are now doing so in droves, she did it while being un-apologetically herself.

Even though she did not want any honors for herself during her life, the nation would only honour itself by giving much deserved respect to her. We have lost the one person who could always be counted on to speak truth to power – at great personal risk to her own safety but Asma Jahangir is not the name of an individual but she is an idea and ideas never die.

About the author

Mian Bilal