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Conference in memory of Asma from tomorrow in Lahore

Updated October 12, 2018

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Asma Jahangir. — File Photo
Asma Jahangir. — File Photo

LAHORE: The Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell in collaboration with the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) is holding its first ‘Justice for Empowerment Conference’ dedicated to the late human rights icon.

The conference is scheduled to be held on Oct 13 and 14 at Avari Hotel and it aims to highlight the legacy of Asma Jahangir through panel discussions on fundamental rights, independence of the judiciary, empowerment of the marginalized communities, freedom of expression and regional solidarity.

International legal experts, members of judiciary, senior lawyers, policymakers, media persons and representatives of political parties will attend the event. The guests include Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar; the current and former presidents of the SCBA and Lahore High Court Bar Association; Australian jurist, academic and former High Court judge Michael Kirby; Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Swedish Ambassador-at-large for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, Annika Ben David.

Steven Butler from the Committee to Protect Journalists and Kristy Brimelow QC, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee (England), will also be present.

Asma Jahangir, the first woman president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, contributed immensely to not just legislation but also the human rights situation in Pakistan. She co-founded the AGHS legal aid cell in 1987 through which she fought several court cases some of which ended in landmark decisions.

The legal aid cell that she founded has influenced 17 pieces of legislation advancing the rights of women, children and religious minorities including amendments easing the dissolution of abusive marriages, introducing new laws against honour killing, the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1992, Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace Act 2010, Anti Rape Bill 2016, the Child Marriage Restraint Act, the Elections Act 2017, and the Acid Control and Crime Prevention Act 2011.

She also championed many a cause and spoke about misuse of certain laws besides fighting for supremacy of democracy and freedom of expression.

The formal inauguration of the first day will be at 9:30am and sessions will continue till 5:30 pm.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018