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Top activist 'won't bow to threats'

Asma Jahangir demands govt protection from 'spy agency death plot'

Ayyaz Gulzar, Karachi

June 11, 2012

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Leading human rights activist Asma Jahangir says she will not bow to threats and has demanded government protection after repeating allegations that the country’s top intelligence service has hatched a plot to kill her. Jahangir, a former UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary and Summary Executions and the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, last week accused the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of plotting to kill her. Rights groups have also moved quickly to pledge support for Jahangir, who is an outspoken critic of the military establishment. “I have been threatened ever since I started campaigning for human rights and have never complained, but this time I have learned of an assassination plot by the ISI. Their chief met me to deny any such plan and demanded the names of those who revealed the plot, but I refused to tell him,” said Jahangir. “Many senior military men have suggested I leave the country but I have decided to face the threat. Now it is the government’s responsibility to protect me,” she said. She was speaking during a video conference at the weekend held at the Arts Council in Karachi. The event was organized by Citizen for Democracy (CFD), a forum of 80 NGOs, and was attended by more than 1,000 human rights activists who pledged support for Jahangir. “I called her as soon as I heard her life was in danger. We are praying for her and condemn all assassination plots and threats,” said Father Emmanuel Yousaf Mani, national director of the Catholic Bishops' National Commission for Justice and Peace. “Jahangir stood by us on many occasions and we appreciate her struggle for human rights.”
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