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By Haider Kaleem

The Habib Jalib Peace Award for the year 2020 has been given to the globally recognized prominent human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir.

Since 2007, the Habib Jalib Peace Award has been given to known personalities for their struggle for democracy and human rights activism.

Due to different dictatorial and authoritarian regimes, the list of such brave people who resisted in Pakistan is long. However, the name of Asma Jahangir stands tall amongst all.

Abdul Sattar Edhi has been a recipient of this award. The ceremony is organized by Habib Jalib Amn (peace) Award Committee in Karachi.

The secretary of the committee, Saeed Pervaiz who is also a brother of Habib Jalib told voicepk.net that “Asma Jahangir is the 14th person in Pakistan to receive this award but unfortunately due to the coronavirus lock-down, we were unable to hold the ceremony for it”.

Mr. Saeed Pervaiz intends to organize the ceremony at the Karachi Arts Council as soon as the lock-down is lifted.

“The award ceremony used to happen on April 30 every year,” he added.

When asked why the committee chose Asma Jahangir’s name for this year’s award, Mr. Pervaiz laughed and said: “who does not know why anyone would award the brave Asma Jahangir with any such honor of working on human rights”.

On 12th February 1983, around 250 Pakistani women took out a peaceful protest in Lahore to petition against the discriminatory Law of Evidence that General Zia ul Haq’s regime attempted to promulgate.

The protest was led by Asma Jahangir who pushed through a police barrier, right after Habib Jalib narrated one of his poems.

February 12 is now celebrated as National Women’s Day in Pakistan.

History remembers Asma Jahangir as someone who has tirelessly worked for the rights of women, children, prisoners, peasants, students, lawyers, journalists and struggled for democracy despite repression and against all odds

Haider Kaleem tweets at @HaiderKaleemB