(AsiaNews) - Church leaders and representatives of Pakistan's Christian
community joined the Joint Action Committee for Human Rights in Lahore in a
show of solidarity with Asma Jahangir, the well-known human rights activist who
has fought for the weak and marginalised in society. In recent days, she
received death threats from extremist groups.
attacks against someone with her high and positive profile have generated panic
among civil society actors, lawyers and human rights defenders. However, "I devoted
my life to marginalised and oppressed people," Asma Jahangir said. "If these
threats are intended to make me stay at home, rest assured I will not be
the rally, a conference was held on Friday at the Aiwan-i-Iqbal in Lahore. It drew
more than 700 Muslims and Christians, lay people and religious, prominent political
leaders and representatives of about 30 civil society organisations and
movements including the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the
Catholic Church as well as the Women Action Forum and the All Pakistan
Emmanuel Yousaf Mani and NCJP Executive Director Peter Jacob condemned the
threats, asking the authorities to find out who is behind them and to ensure
Mani gave assurances that the Catholic community would support and pray for her
and encourage her "noble cause". The clergyman mentioned her fight for the abolition
of the blasphemy law and her action on behalf of the victims of the 'black law'.
his sentiments, Peter Jacob praised the human rights activist for her "four
decades of struggle" in favour of "the rights of all citizens," especially "the
marginalised and dispossessed".
assure Asma," he added, "that we are all with her and that we will never step
back at the time of sacrifices. We are ready to lay down our lives for her."
Rahmat, a young Christian who is also the director of Chanan Development
Association, told AsiaNews, "All of
us human rights activists are under threat and we face dozens of challenges."
case came to the fore because of her "international reputation" as a "courageous
woman" devoted to the cause. She is "a model and a source of inspiration" for
Senator Asif Jonaijo recounted Jahangir's campaign on behalf of missing people
in the province and her work in favour of peace and interreligious harmony.
Laldin contributed to the article.)