KARACHI: Members of the civil society, while condemning the assassination plot against leading human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir, accused the agencies of being involved in the plotting and called for the government to take action against it.
“Who has given these agencies the authority to harass our leader and plot against her?” demanded Mahnaz Rahman, the Aurat Foundation resident director, at the Karachi Press Club. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan held a press conference on Wednesday against the threat of attack.
Rahman, representing the Women Action Forum, said that such threats are proof that “fascists” and “undemocratic elements” exist in the country. She asked the agencies to stick to their own work and refrain from interfering in politics.
“We demand that the government provide security to Asma and punish the criminals involved,” said Rahman, while calling Jahangir a champion of human rights and an icon of bravery. She added that the government had failed to ensure protection to its leaders, including Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer, as well as the journalists such as Saleem Shahzad.
Dr Mirza Ali Asghar of the Pakistan Medical Association said that the government should be pressurised to stop the increasing intolerance in the country. “The government has no writ in the country and no such thing as rule of law exists here,” said Asghar. “Every other day doctors are being kidnapped and killed but nothing is being done about that.”
The Karachi University’s Professor Mutahir Ahmed, from the international relations department, said that Jahangir is not the voice of one individual but of all those who defend human rights. “These plots and threats are not against one person but everyone who believe in human rights,” alleged Ahmed.
While condemning the death threats to Jahangir, activist Farhat Parween said that a demonstration would be held against the charges.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.