Wednesday, November 7

Pakistan Women: Revered activist Asma Jahangir under house arrest

Asma Jahangir is no terrorist. She is not a hardened criminal. She is a tough-minded, self-taught, internationally admired lawyer who has spent most of her adult life speaking out for democracy and against military leaders such as Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf.

For her insistence that the government obey the constitution and respect individual rights, Jahangir was put under house arrest Saturday, within hours of Musharraf's declaration of a national state of emergency.

Now 55, Jahangir has campaigned since she was a teenager against military rulers who have held sway over Pakistan. More than once, her willingness to speak out and protest in the streets has landed the diminutive woman in jail.

The organization she helped found in 1986, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, has championed women's rights, demanded an end to bonded labor, challenged blasphemy laws, defended media freedoms and exposed official corruption.


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