27th January 2022 is the fourth birthday of Pakistan’s foremost human rights defender that the world celebrates without her. Asma Jahangir is a name synonymous with hope, bravery and human compassion. Asma Jahangir is a face that symbolizes the vast gains the Pakistani woman has made since the days of Zia. Asma Jahangir is a legacy that inspires the coming generations to fight for the weakest of the weak.
Her brainchild, AGHS Legal Aid Cell, continues firmly in her footsteps, extending a hand to those who need it the most.
Established in 1987, AGHS Legal Aid Cell has remained a frontrunner law firm in the human rights movement in Pakistan. The firm aims to promote human rights, and serves the most vulnerable sectors of society such as women, children, bonded labourers and religious minorities.
The organization provides free legal aid and assistance to victims of human rights violations, and works toward providing legal relief to marginalized segments of society. It is essentially the only leading law firm providing widespread free-of-cost legal services in Pakistan in the absence of state machinery. Along with providing pro bono legal assistance, the firm works with relevant stakeholders in government and civil society organizations to develop legal and policy reforms in order to effectuate state infrastructure in evolving with international human rights standards.
AGHS Legal Aid Cell’s legal experts especially work towards implementation and application of fundamental rights promised within the Constitution, whereby the organization has several public interest litigations pending adjudication and decided before the High Court regarding subject matter of the project, such as systemic violations of fundamental human rights.
The organization has consulted and filed over 1,800 legal cases of inter alia, family law, criminal cases, constitutional matters and civil litigation in 2021. During the pandemic, there was a rapid rise in incidents of domestic violence and sexual violence due to restrictions on movement and, therefore, AGHS Legal Aid Cell continued providing free legal relief to victims of violence.