Presented by Benk H. Korthals, Minister of Justice
Asma Jahangir, born into a politically active family in the 1950s, was sworn in as a lawyer in 1978. At the time, many laws passed in Pakistan had an anti-female bias. Anything to do with women was obscene and un-Islamic. Asma founded the Punjab Women Lawyer’s Association and the Women’s Action Forum, an action group that opposed discriminatory legislation of all kinds. Asma was regularly imprisoned for participation in ‘subversive’ activities.
In 1982 she joined Pakistan’s High Court as a barrister and specialised in matters relating to victims of family and fundamentalist violence.
In 1986 she set up Pakistan’s first legal aid centre, which provided a safe refuge for women faced with violence of whatever kind.