Bishops back Pakistan activist after death threat fears

Asma Jahangir addresses during the ECOSOC High-Level Segment. Credit: UN Photo/ Jean-Marc Ferre (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)_
Asma Jahangir addresses during the ECOSOC High-Level Segment. Credit: UN Photo/ Jean-Marc Ferre (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)_

.- The Catholic bishops of Pakistan are giving their “full solidarity and support” to Asma Jahangir, a human rights advocate in Pakistan who says her life is being threatened by factions in the country’s ruling establishment and intelligence services.

Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission, praised Jahangir’s commitment to “freedom of expression, legality for religious minorities, democracy and the rule of law,” Fides reports.

Jahangir is the founder and former president of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a non-governmental organization that is represented in the United Nations Council for Human Rights.

She told Deutche Welle that “extremely reliable” sources have told her that some in the government, including the Inter-Services Intelligence security agency, have planned to kill her.

“I am a very responsible person, and I do not usually make these kinds of allegations,” she said. “I have been threatened many times in my life but I never went to the police and never made any hue and cry about it. I believe now it is my duty to speak up and say what is needed to be said.”

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has expressed “serious concern” about the allegations and has appealed to the international community.

The threats are mainly due to Jahangir’s recent commitment to issues in the West Pakistan province of Baluchistan, a site of rebellion where the armed forces have allegedly committed acts of lawlessness and abuse for some time, Fides news agency says.

Jahangir has denounced abductions, disappearances and extrajudicial killings of Baluchistan activists. Over 2,000 people are missing, and 550 terrorist acts have taken place in recent years. More than 100,000 people have fled because of the disorder.

Catholic lawyer Naeem Shaker called for the condemnation of “any form of intimidation, violence and oppression” against those committed to human rights in Baluchistan.

Tags: Human rights


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