A void really difficult to fill: Raza Rumi remembers Asma Jahangir on first death anniversary

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A void really difficult to fill: Raza Rumi remembers Asma Jahangir on first death anniversary

Whenerver excesses were committed by the judiciary, like dam fund etc, or civil rights were curbed, or Arman Loni and SP Dawar were murdered, we thought Asma would’ve said something had she been alive. What we need to do is not lose hope and take her mission forward.

Raza Rumi remembers Asma Jahangir on her first death anniversary.


  • One year has passed since Asma Jahangir left us
  • And see how time flies
  • There wouldn’t be a human rights activist
  • as brave and fearless as her
  • in entire world, let alone Pakistan
  • Today, the state Pakistan is in, the dangers democracy faces,
  • restrictions on the freedom of speech being imposed,
  • it makes us miss Asma Jahangir even more
  • It is a grave tragedy that all of us,
  • the citizens, political parties, media, lawyers, civil rights organizations
  • had handed our responsibilities to Asma Jahangir
  • and that is why we don’t have such a central figure
  • on the scene today in Pakistan
  • Take a look at the facts from the last few months,
  • whether it was murder of SP Dawar,
  • who was kidnapped from Islamabad, then taken to Afghanistan,
  • the murder of Arman Loni in Loralai,
  • or abductions of other journalists, arrest of Ammar Ali Jan,
  • we’re always left wondering what Asma would’ve said
  • had she been among us today
  • Also, when excesses were being committed by the judiciary,
  • like dam fund, or interference in other things,
  • we all thought Asma would’ve said something about this
  • I believe it’s a void that is really difficult to fill
  • But we must not lose hope
  • There are hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis,
  • citizens, political workers, raising their voices,
  • fighting the war for human rights
  • Today we have to think what’s the legacy of Asma Jahangir
  • I think there are three most important aspects to it
  • Firstly, we must raise voice against every injustice
  • and every violation of human rights
  • no matter where we are, on Facebook, Twitter,
  • writing in some newspaper or as a common citizen,
  • don’t close your eyes on injustice
  • Secondly, only raising your voice isn’t enough
  • We need to build institutions,
  • like Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
  • or AGHS legal aid cell,
  • so building institutions and networks is vital
  • Third is solidarity
  • This is not one person’s or one group’s job
  • All of us have to move forward together,
  • political parties, media, civil rights groups etc,
  • Unless we move forward in alliances,
  • we won’t be able to ensure human rights,
  • democracy and peace in Pakistan
  • So let’s reaffirm our promise today that we shall be
  • part of the mission for which Asma Jahangir
  • led her entire life
  • and we will take it forward
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Raza Rumi

The writer is editor of Pakistani newspaper Daily Times, visiting faculty at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs and author of Being Pakistani: Society, Culture and the Arts

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