“The morality of a society is not judged by the behaviour of an oppressed class but by the rules and laws made by the state, which either protect or exploit an already depressed section of society.”

-Asma Jahangir

Born on 27 January 1952, Asma Jilani Jahangir was a Pakistani human rights lawyer and activist who co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Jehangir was born and raised in Lahore; she earned her bachelor’s degree from Kinnaird before specialising in Law at the Punjab University in 1978. Throughout the 1980’s, Jehangir’s prominence grew due to her opposition to the military rule of Zia-ul-Haq and his overtly Islamic policies restricting certain essential freedoms, calling for a move to return Pakistan to a democracy.

Jehangir had a fiery personality and would not conform to the oppression dolled on her in an attempt to subdue her voice. Time and time again, she found herself at the center of controversial issues, with her voice often being the voice of reason. For her participation in the Lawyer’s Movement, she was bestowed with the honor of serving as President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, the first woman to do so. Jehangir served on various councils concerning human rights activism and was named the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran in 2016.

Jehangir passed away on 11 February 2018, and was posthumously awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz on 23 March 2018, for her unwavering dedication to oppose all forms of oppression and her efforts to ensure that the rights of people from across the globe were met.