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Activists stand behind 'nation's Suu Kyi'

Thousands voice support for 'threatened' lawyer Asma Jahangir

Activists stand behind 'nation's Suu Kyi'
Asma Jahangir at protest meeting in Lahore reporter, Lahore

June 18, 2012

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Church leaders and activists are throwing their support behind a leading rights lawyer who claimed earlier this month that she had discovered a plot by the country’s powerful intelligence agency to kill her. “I tell those who plan to kill Asma Jahangir that her voice can never be silenced and will only become more louder. We shall continue to stand by her”, said Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, national director of the Catholic Bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP). He was addressing a forum organized by the Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights (JAC) in Lahore on Friday. More than 5,000 people attended the event to voice their anger at an alleged plot by the Inter-Services Intelligence to kill Jahangir, who is the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Speakers, including lawyers and human rights workers, praised Jahangir for her four decades of struggle for human rights, and demanded a high level investigation into the claims and security for Jahangir, who has already survived two assassination attempts. “There is impending danger that she might disappear or fall victim to a target killing. Jahangir is a symbol of the impartial voice and spirit of Pakistan. It is unfortunate that there are conspiracies to eliminate her; we have already lost so many precious lives,” said Peter Jacob executive secretary of the NCJP. Imtiaz Alam Secretary General South Asia Free Media Association, called Jahangir the Pakistani Suu Kyi, likening the rights lawyer to Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “Our country is on a life support. We want a true democratic state, not a playground for terrorists and Jihad,” he said. In a press statement, the JAC branded the alleged conspiracy “an insidious attempt to silence the people through terror.” “It is a conspiracy … against all Pakistani citizens, the rule of law, freedom of opinion and dissent as well as to undermine a fragile democracy. This state within a state should be brought under the laws of the land,” the statement said. Thanking her supporters, Jahangir said that she would not let the threats deter her from her work. “Agencies are now visiting NGO offices asking questions; we are being harassed.The policy of hate, corruption, Jihadi culture and fundamentalism are all gifts from army generals,” she said. Related reports Top activist ‘won’t bow to threats’

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