Thousands attended the funeral of Pakistani lawyer, human rights, peace and democracy advocate Asma Jahangir in Lahore on Tuesday – women, men, rich, poor, workers, lawyers, journalists, farmers, ambassadors, ministers. Those who could not attend in person held prayers and vigils in different cities – Karachi, Hyderabad, Peshawar. More such events are planned in cities around Pakistan and the world, including India, where she has many admirers.
Pakistani advocate Asma Jahangir was one of the pioneers of the India-Pakistan peace movement, who always stressed the importance of involving women in the peace process. She was a co-founder of the Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy, and South Asians for Human Rights.
Several memorials are planned for her by peace-loving citizens in India and elsewhere.
In New Delhi today, Thursday Feb. 15, there will be a gathering of people whose lives she touched, “to commemorate Asma’s indomitable spirit and life” in an evening of thoughts, poetry and songs. Known names from the peace movements, rights activists, policy makers, lawyers, journalists expected to participate include Adv. Indira Jaisingh, Kuldip Nayar, Kamla Bhasin, Dr. Syeda Hameed, Tapan K. Bose, Miloon Kothari, Adv. Vrinda Grover, Jyoti Malhotra, Moonis Ijlal, Mariam Faruqi and many other prominent citizens.
On Friday, 16 Feb, the Asmita Collective in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, India, together with Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy is holding a tribute to the Pakistani feminist and human rights advocate and defender.
“Asma was the unwavering voice of peace in South Asia, and an unparalleled advocate of rights of minorities, women and all oppressed peoples. Importantly, she fought her battles in court and outside forcing due process under the most difficult and impossible conditions for the protection of the most marginalised groups – thus fighting hard to institutionalise human rights against state impunity”.
Another gathering in the area will take place on Saturday Feb 17, 2018, at 5 pm, at the Maheshwari Complex, Masab Tank, Hyderabad, India. Terming Asma Jahangir’s demise as “an irreparable loss for South Asia” the organisers note that she had visited Hyderabad last in 2016 and greatly appreciated the city, its history, culture and hospitality of people. “We request you to attend to pay your homage to this truly courageous and committed soul”.
Meanwhile, in Boston, USA, Pakistani and Indian students have jointly organised a memorial for Asma Jahangir on Saturday at 6 pm at the Harvard Kennedy School. Organised by Asma’s friends, activists and admirers the event co-sponsors include the Harvard Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute, Harvard Kennedy School South Asia Engagement Forum, Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, South Asia Center Boston, Harvard Pakistan Students Group, and HKS Pakistan Caucus.
Prominent intellectuals expected to attend the gathering include Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, writer Sara Sulehri, historian Ayesha Jalal among others.
Another memorial in Nagpur, India, is planned for Sunday, 25 Feb. Details to be announced.