Pakistan’s Women Heroes : Hina Jilani

Women who Named the Unnamed
Honor/Cherish the Continuity

Hina Jilani
lawyer/human rights defender/elder

Voice of Resistance and Courage
By Asma Sayed

I always had this feeling that if you see injustice,
you have to speak out against it; otherwise, you are not
in a position to complain
.’ – Hina Jilani

Hina Jilani is one of the most noteworthy and globally known activists in the field of human rights and women’s liberation. Born and raised in Pakistan, she has served in many roles and continues to fight for the upliftment of the marginalized and oppressed in Pakistan and elsewhere.

After completing her training as a lawyer in 1974, and after a number of years of legal practice, she was appointed as an Advocate to the High Court of Pakistan in 1981; that year, she also co-instituted Pakistan’s first all-women law firm. In 1986, she established the first legal aid centre in Lahore. Among one of Hina’s most notable achievements is the founding of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission as well as the Women’s Action Forum in 1986. During her remarkable career in law, Hina especially focused on litigation related to human rights of women, children, minorities, and prisoners, groups that have historically been underrepresented. As well, she is the founder of Dastak, a housing facility for women at risk of being targets of honour killing. Dastak not only provides a safe place to live, but also helps women achieve education and financial independence.

Hina was appointed as an Advocate in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1992. She was the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders from 2000 to 2008; during this time, she presented numerous fact-finding reports to the Human Rights Council. She was also a member of the UN Fact-Finding Commission on Darfur in 2004 and on the Gaza conflict in 2009.

In 2007, she joined The Elders, ‘a group of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights,’ which was founded by Nelson Mandela. The group works on six core programmes: ethical leadership and multilateral cooperation; conflict countries and regions; universal health coverage; climate change; refugees and migration; and access to justice. A member of the Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, and Human Rights, Hina has been affiliated with the United Nations Center for Human Rights, the Carter Center, and the UN Conference on Women. She has worked for numerous non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF and UNIFEM, and visited many countries on human rights missions: Angola, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Nigeria, Serbia, Thailand, and Turkey among others.

She has received multiple awards for her remarkable work; the highlights include: Human Rights Award by the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (1999); Amnesty International’s the Ginetta Sagan Award for Women’s Rights (2000); the Millennium Peace Prize for Women (2001); the American Bar Association’s International Human Rights Lawyer Award (2008); and the Editor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement (2013). A versatile speaker, she has delivered talks at universities around the world.

Hina hails from a family of human rights activists. Her father, Malik Gulam Jilani, was a strong critic of Pakistan government. Her sister, Asma Jahangir, who passed away in 2018, has been known for her human rights activism. The family has been subjected to abuse by both government and non-government forces and been attacked multiple times; they have been kept under surveillance and received death threats. Hina, along with her family members, stood her ground and did not give up her fight for a better society.

Hina Jilani has dedicated her life to the uplifting of humanity. She is a voice of resistance and courage personified.
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Asma Sayed teaches literary and film studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She specializes in postcolonial South Asian literature and cinema. Her interdisciplinary research and social activism focus on marginalization of gendered and racialized people and violence against women as represented in literature, film, and media. Her publications include five books and numerous articles. She is the President of the Canadian Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies.

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Women Who Named the Unnamed
Pakistan’s & Local Women Heroes

Saturday, September 28, 2019
6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage
Surrey City Hall
13450 – 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 1V8
Phone: 604-591-4011

Buy your ticket online at this link:
tickets.surrey.ca
Tickets $25
Box Office : 604-501-5566

More information
Women-who-named-the-unnamed
In-gratitude-we-celebrate-our-women-heroes
View our objectives and goals.

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

..

Pakistan’s Women Heroes : Asma Jahangir

Women who Named the Unnamed
Tribute to the Brilliance

Asma Jahangir (1952-2018)
lawyer/human rights activist/author

By Sameena Siddiqui

Who they are, they are bizarre! But them you can’t extinguish,
They are whole, they are part, mingled so, you can’t distinguish,
Determined! They want the flame of hope to ignite,
Determined! They want life to illuminate like light,
Who they are, they are bizarre! Them you can’t extinguish,
They are whole, they are part, mingled so, you cant distinguish

yeh jo bhi hain ajeeb hain mitai mit na payenge,
yeh kul bhi hain, yeh juz bhi hain, tumhe nazar na ayenge,
yeah zid pe hain ke roshni ka har chirag jal uthe,
yeh zid pe hain ke zindagi mein roshni beekher de,
yeh jo bhi hain ajeeb hai mitai mit na payenge,
yeh kul bhi hain yeh juz bhi hain tumhe nazar na ayenge

(Gauhar Raza, Urdu. Translation, Author)

On 11th Feb 2018, Pakistan lost a willful feminist who insisted on getting her way, becoming audible and laying bare the societal violence directed towards the vulnerable and the marginalized. Asma Jilani Jahangir was the leading Pakistani Human Rights activist, lawyer, feminist and a fearless critic of the military interference in civil society and dictatorial role in politics. She always spoke truth to power and fought for women, minority, and bonded labourers’ rights against religious extremism and state authoritarian injustice in Pakistan. Asma gained international recognition for being the conscience of democratic and progressive Pakistan in the decades when secular voices and civil liberties were constantly under threat.

Asma’s tryst with the authoritarian state began in the year 1971 when she filed a case against the government of the Punjab for the release of her father, Malik Ghulam Jilani, then a Member of the National Assembly who had been incarcerated for protesting against Pakistan’s Army action in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. This was Asma’s first case, she won it, and it became a landmark that was followed by the interim Constitution of 1972 and by the permanent constitution of 1973. As well, Zulfikar Ali Bhtto, the President and Chief Martial law Administrator at the time, had no choice but to remove the Martial law because of the judicial pronouncements made in that case.

Then in 1983, military dictator General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq enacted laws for the Islamization of Pakistan based on political motives. Haq’s desire to create an Islamic state where people of diverse ethnicity and pluralities live per Islamic principles was rooted in Pakistan’s genesis narratives. In 1979, he made several attempts to change the essential secular character of Pakistan’s legal system by implementing Islamic criminal law and established the Federal Shariat Court to monitor Pakistan’s adherence to it. Under such a system, women and minorities were subjected to violence, sexual abuse and blasphemy laws to control, punish and outcast those who defied the retrogressive norms and patriarchal oppression.

This was the decade when the Islamic revolution in Iran, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and emergence of Zia’s regime backed by US military forced a backward journey on women in the South Asian subcontinent. In that era of religious extremism, Asma Jahangir became the face of feminist protest against Zia-ul-Haq’s ordinances and fought on the streets against the weaponization of the seventh-century Islamic laws and tenets targeting women, queers and people belonging to minority groups. On the ground, despite several death threats and imprisonments, feminist poets, writers and lawyers joined hands to build a counter momentum to fight the tyranny, politicization of Islam, and institutional compliance with gendered discriminatory legislation.

Asma, her sister Hina Jilani, and other women leaders were determined to resist the moral regulation unleashed by the post-colonial state in the name of religion, and they came together with progressive men to form Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP, 1987)-an independent group, where they openly spoke about the failure of Pakistan’s state to protect women and minority rights as a systemic violation of international human rights. Women founded other organizations such as Women Action Forum (WAF), Punjab Women Lawyers Association (PWLA), AGHS Legal Aid Cell (ALAC). These organizations campaigned against the Hudood Ordinances (1979), provided free legal assistance to the lower caste/class women fleeing sexual violence, domestic abuse or custodial rights.

Interestingly, the regime that attempted to marginalize the women saw the genesis of the most vibrant women’ movement in Pakistan. Despite being seen as a threat to ‘national honour’, Asma Jahangir continued her lifelong work of fighting for legal rights for minorities and eradication of child labour. Later, she won several international awards and served as a United Nations rapporteur on Freedom of religion and was also a trustee at the International Crisis Group.

Today, Asma Jahangir left us with a feminist legacy that teaches us how to willfully refuse to be included in a system that is predicated on inequality and violence.


Sameena Siddiqui is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory (AHVA) at UBC. In her doctoral thesis, she is looking at the politics of intertextuality between print, photography, and cinema in the early 20th century India. She did her M.Phil from School of Arts & Aesthetics, JNU, Delhi and has presented her work in several international conferences and residencies.

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Women Who Named the Unnamed
Pakistan’s & Local Women Heroes

Saturday, September 28, 2019
6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage
Surrey City Hall
13450 – 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 1V8
Phone: 604-591-4011

Buy your ticket online at this link:
tickets.surrey.ca
Tickets $25
Box Office : 604-501-5566

More information
Women-who-named-the-unnamed
In-gratitude-we-celebrate-our-women-heroes
View our objectives and goals.

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

..

Buy Your Ticket for ‘Women Who Named the Unnamed – Pakistani & Local Women Heroes’


We are happy to announce that the Box Office at the Surrey City Hall is now open for this celebration of women. Your participation will allow us to express our gratitude to Sabeen Mahmud (1975-2015), Fahmida Riaz (1946-2018), Asma Jahangir (1952-2018), Madeeha Gauhar (1956-2018), Sarah Suhail, Sheema Kermani, Kishwar Naheed, Hina Jilani, Huma Safdar, Mukhtar Mai from Pakistan, and, Sunera Thobani, Surjeet Kalsey, Harsha Walia, Darshan Mann, Deanna Reder, and Katheren Szabo, a Surrey Woman of Courage.

Buy your ticket online at this link:
tickets.surrey.ca
Tickets $25
Box Office : 604-501-5566

Women Who Named the Unnamed
Pakistani & Local Women Heroes

Saturday, September 28, 2019
6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage
Surrey City Hall
13450 – 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 1V8
Phone: 604-591-4011

More information
Women-who-named-the-unnamed
In-gratitude-we-celebrate-our-women-heroes
View our objectives and goals

Project funded by
City of Surrey Cultural Grants, Hari Sharma Foundation, Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia (UBC), South Asian Studies Institute, University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), Centre for India and South Asia Research, University of British Columbia (UBC), Fraser Valley Peace Council (FVPC), Department of Language and Cultures, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)

Presented by
Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS), South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC)

More information
pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com
pakistanswomenheroes@gmail.com

LIKE our Facebook page
facebook.com/pakistanswomenheroes
Follow on Twitter
@heroes_pakistan

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.

..

‘Women Who Named the Unnamed : Pakistani & Local Women Heroes’ – Saturday 28 Sept 2019 – Centre Stage – Surrey City Hall


You are warmly invited to participate in a delightful experience of coming to know in one evening 15 wonderful women of our time. Presented by five Hosts, this three-hour stage show uses short videos and props to communicate the ‘feel’ of women’s work and contributions to our cultures and societies. From Pakistan, Sabeen Mahmud (1975-2015), Fahmida Riaz (1946-2018), Asma Jahangir (1952-2018), Madeeha Gauhar (1956-2018), Sarah Suhail, Sheema Kermani, Kishwar Naheed, Hina Jilani, Huma Safdar, Mukhtar Mai, and, we will also be honored by the presence of the following distinguished guests:

Sunera Thobani
Scholar/activist/author, Vancouver CA
Surjeet Kalsey
Poet/author/translator, Burnaby CA
Harsha Walia
Author/activist/organizer, Vancouver CA
Darshan Mann
Theatre actor/activist/organizer, Surrey CA
Deanna Reder
Scholar/author/historian, Vancouver CA

Women Who Named the Unnamed
Pakistani & Local Women Heroes

Saturday, September 28, 2019
6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage
Surrey City Hall
13450 – 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 1V8
Phone: 604-591-4011

Tickets $25
Box Office : 604-501-5566

Project funded by
City of Surrey, Cultural Grants, Hari Sharma Foundation, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia (UBC), South Asian Studies Institute, University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), Centre for India and South Asia Research, University of British Columbia (UBC), Fraser Valley Peace Council (FVPC), Department of Language and Cultures, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)

Presented by
Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS), South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC)

More information
pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com
pakistanswomenheroes@gmail.com

LIKE our Facebook page
facebook.com/pakistanswomenheroes
Follow on Twitter
@heroes_pakistan

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.

..

In Gratitude we Celebrate our Women Heroes

In gratitude, and with immense joy, we recognize and celebrate life by telling the stories of some of the most inspiring and courageous women of our time- the women without who our local and global histories(!) can not be complete.

Recognize and Celebrate

A Surrey Woman of Courage
Katheren Szabo, poet/activist/survivor, Surrey CA

Tribute to the Brilliance
Sabeen Mahmud (1975-2015), arts activist/poet/organizer, Karachi PK
Fahmida Riaz (1946-2018), poet/publisher/activist, Karachi PK
Asma Jahangir (1952-2018), lawyer/human rights activist/author, Lahore PK
Madeeha Gauhar (1956-2018), theatre director/producer/actor, Lahore PK
Sarah Suhail, queer feminist activist, Lahore PK

Honor/Cherish the Continuity
Sheema Kermani, dancer/activist/mentor, Karachi PK
Kishwar Naheed, poet/author/organizer, Islamabad PK
Hina Jilani, lawyer/human rights activist, Lahore PK
Huma Safdar, theatre director/producer/actor, Lahore PK
Mukhtar Mai, organizer/leader/survivor, Muzaffargarh PK

Celebrate the (here and) Now
Sunera Thobani, scholar/activist/author, Vancouver CA
Surjeet Kalsey, poet/author/translator, Burnaby CA
Harsha Walia, author/activist/organizer, Vancouver CA
Darshan Mann, theatre actor/activist/organizer, Surrey CA
Deanna Reder, scholar/author/historian, Vancouver CA

We will tell these wonderful stories through our web page, and by producing short informative videos, posters, buttons, a booklet, articles and posts- leading upto the scheduled event in September.

Women Who Named the Unnamed – Pakistani & Local Women Heroes
Saturday, September 28, 2019, 6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage, Surrey City Hall, Surrey BC

Your support is urgently requested. Please do any or all of the following:

Follow the web page (bottom of the Sidebar)
pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com

LIKE Facebook page
facebook.com/pakistanswomenheroes

Follow on Twitter
@heroes_pakistan

Donate by contacting us at the link below
pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com/contact

For more information
pakistanswomenheroes@gmail.com

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.

..

Celebrating Pakistan’s Women Heroes

In the recent past, four of Pakistan’s prominent women artists/activists have passed away. Those women are Sabeen Mahmud (activist, murdered in Karachi), Fahmida Riaz (poet/activist), Asma Jahangir (lawyer/HR activist), Madeeha Gauhar (Theatre actor/director/producer). We have not had the chance to mourn their deaths or to celebrate their lives even though each one of them, with many others, had stood up to the oppressors and had dedicated her life to ‘naming the unnamed’ in the face of adversity.

Surrey Muse, in collaboration with South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) and Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC), is honored to produce a memorial program to present those and more heroic women’s lives and their life long contributions to Pakistani society and to the international women’s movements.

The program is perceived in the larger context of the country’s politics and international misogynistic societal structures, and, it strives to connect and engage local audiences around the commonality of women’s experiences where national boundaries become irrelevant as we connect across cultures and continents. View more here:
pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com/about

This program that is being created as a Stage Show for Metro Vancouver, will be a complete prototype of a well-researched and well-produced 3-hour program on Pakistani women that can easily be morphed and tailored to the needs of diverse audiences and locations within Canada, the USA, and elsewhere- where the last part allows for the recognition and celebration of woman local to that area.

The first Stage Show is set to happen on Saturday, September 28, 6-9pm at Surrey City Hall’s Centre Stage. We have just begun moving toward it, your support is urgently requested.

Follow our developing web page
pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com

LIKE the project’s Facebook page
facebook.com/pakistanswomenheroes

Donate by contacting us at the link below
pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com/contact
..