Asma Jahangir Conference starts today

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LAHORE: Foreign dignitaries, including the European Union ambassador, the Netherlands’ human rights ambassador British author and historian Victoria Schofield and journalist Christina Lamb, will join the second edition of Asma Jahangir Conference that is starting here today (Friday) besides several eminent personalities from all sectors from Pakistan, including Cyril Almeida, Hamid Mir, I.A. Rehman, Mohammed Hanif, Hina Rabbani Khar, Yusuf Raza Gilani and Shahbaz Sharif.

A pre-conference event will be held today (Friday) while a larger agenda would follow on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 6pm at the Avari Lahore.

The event that is open to the public will also available for remote viewing via a live-stream on its official website: http://asmajahangir.org/ajconf-2018/.

The list of those attending include Androulla Kaminara (European Union Ambassador), Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie (Human Rights Ambassador, Netherlands), Baroness Kennedy (barrister, broadcaster & Labour member of the House of Lords), Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Barrister Maleeka Bokhari, BNP (M) leader Akhtar Mengal, Knut Otsby, Amanullah Khan Yasinzai (governor of Balochistan), Justice Gulzar Ahmed (acting Chief Justice of Pakistan), Khurram Dastagir Khan, Nasim Zehra and Arif Nizami, former Supreme Court Bar President Ali Ahmed Kurd, Hafeez Pasha, Salima Hashmi, Owen Bennett Jones (journalist), Nepalese journalist and founder of Himal South Asian magazine Kanax Mani Dixit and the Steven Butler of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The conference will also feature internationally recognized activists such as Kamla Bhasin and Orzala Nemat.

“The conference is being held in the spirit of Asma Jahangir who struggled all her life for equality, due process of law and strengthening of democratic institutions,” said Munizae Jahangir, the daughter of Asma Jahangir and one of the organisers of the event.

“The aim is to come together with the resolve to uphold those values for a more tolerant and democratic South Asia.”

She said the AJCONF focused on opening up a discourse surrounding the rights of women, children, religious and ethnic minorities, as well as the current human rights crisis in some geopolitical areas such as Kashmir, upholding the rule of law and strengthening of democratic institutions.

“The AJCONF has emerged as Pakistan’s largest gathering of international and national lawyers, human rights’ activists, policy makers and academics,” said Nida Aly, the director of Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell.

The conference is being organised by the Asma Jahangir Legal aid cell (AGHS), in collaboration with Pakistan Bar Council.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2019