Pakistan: Petition to investigate death threats to Asma Jahangir; former UNSR on Freedom of Religion and human rights movement leader

Global Human Rights Defense

Security leaks have brought to light a plot to kill human rights defender Asma Jahangir - former UN Special Rapporteur for Religious Freedom and the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. Jahangir has been a vocal and outspoken leader of the human rights movement in Pakistan for over 30 years and is respected both within Pakistan and the international community.

Without increased protection and help from the Government of Pakistan, Jahangir’s life is in danger. To date, the Government of Pakistan has been unable or unwilling to either increase her security or investigate the plot. Out of fear and protest against such an attack, Jahangir has not left her home.

During an interview on Geo TV’s Aapas Ki Baat program on June 4th, 2012, Jahangir revealed the plot of high-level state agencies to kill her from information she received from a highly credible source. She stated that “in [her] opinion it is clear that the plan has been made at the state level. Who else can make such a plan?”

Jahangir stated that the threats were an attempt to create instability before the upcoming elections. She stated: “The planned attack is not only on me, it’s an attack on the Pakistani people – an attack on democracy and transparency”.

She stated: “I have to speak out now. Silence is no longer possible”.

  • See the interview here (In Urdu): 
  • Civil society in Pakistan has joined together to speak out against the threats. See the statement made on June 4, 2012 here:  


Background information

Jahangir has recently been critical of the Pakistan Army's policies and also of the military agencies' human rights abuses inside Pakistan. Jahangir has been vocal against the extra judicial killings of Shia Muslims in Balochistan. She has also spoken out against religious discrimination, the blasphemy laws and the lack of state protection for minorities in Pakistan.

This is a recurring pattern. Pakistani human rights defenders, journalists and government ministers that have publicly called out for help in the past were nevertheless killed. In 2007, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed when she was leaving a campaign rally. Senior member of the Pakistan People’s Party and Governor of the Punjab Province Salman Taseer was shot dead early 2011 due to his opposition to Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws. Another critic of the blasphemy laws and Pakistan’s Minorities Minister Shabhaz Bhatti was killed on March 2, 2011, subsequent to receiving threats after urging amendments to the blasphemy laws. Investigations into these assassinations have proved inadequate and those responsible have not yet been brought to justice. The climate of fear is also high for journalists, following the torture and killing of two more journalists, Tariq Kamal and Murtaza Razvi, in April and May of 2012.

Take Action!

Sign this petition and join Global Human Rights Defence and other human rights organisations, activists, peace-builders, lawyers, journalists, and citizens of the world in calling on the Pakistani government to fully investigate the threats against Asma Jahangir, to increase security and protect her, and to hold those responsible for the threats accountable.


Petition: In Solidarity with the Civil Society of Pakistan

We, the human rights activists, peace builders, lawyers, journalists and citizens of Europe, Pakistan, South Asia and other countries of the world:

  • Expressing our unflinching commitment to the human rights ideals and values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (and subsequent international covenants, conventions and declarations) including the right to life and freedom of speech;
  • Knowing that the state of Pakistan is a signatory to many such human rights instruments including the UDHR and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
  • Realising the difficulty that civil society in Pakistan encounters when trying to speak out in the face of murders, arrests, torture, harassment, insults and threats to human rights defenders all across Pakistan;
  • Reiterating our resolve to condemn any human rights violation in any part of the world by any state or non-state actor;
  • Being alarmed at the recent news of the plot against the life of Ms. Asma Jahangir, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, prominent human rights activist, and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan;

We strongly express:

  • Our condemnation of any of such plan (leaked by sources within the security establishment of Pakistan) being undertaken by any state or non-state actors to kill Ms. Asma Jahangir;
  • Our solidarity with human rights activists and the entire civil society of Pakistan, which is under severe threat to lose one of their most outspoken and dedicated individuals;
  • Our condemnation of attempts to destabilize Pakistan at a time when democracy and transparency is paramount and when elections draw close;

We call on the Government of Pakistan to:

  • Ensure the physical protection and freedom of Ms. Asma Jahangir at all times;
  • To investigate the plot to kill her and to hold those responsible fully accountable for their actions;
  • To protect the voice of all Pakistani people and human rights activists in particular. 

Sign the petition here: