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Pakistan: Reported assassination plot against prominent human rights defender and lawyer Ms Asma Jahangir
On 4 June 2012, prominent human rights defender and lawyer Ms Asma Jahangir declared that an assassination plot against her exists within the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies.
Asma Jahangir has been a critic of the military's policies in the province of Balochistan, where extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and reports of torture are common. She is one of the founders and served as Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), which has been active in highlighting human rights violations by the Pakistani military and intelligence services. Asma Jahangir served as UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions from 1998 to 2004 and as Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief from 2004 to mid-2010. She is the current President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
During a television interview on 4 June, Asma Jahangir stated that she had learned through a reliable source of an assassination attempt being currently planned against her at the highest levels of the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies. Asma Jahangir fears that she may be killed and a member of her family framed for her murder.
Asma Jahangir and other HRCP members have been subjected to repeated acts of threat and intimidation in the past, including an assassination attempt on Asma Jahangir in 1995 and a period of house arrest in 2007. See Front Line Defenders' urgent appeal from November 2007 for more information (http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/1206). In May and December 2011, Front Line Defenders issued urgent appeals on the killings of two human rights defenders affiliated to the HRCP: member Mr Siddique Eido (http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/15096) and coordinator Mr Zarteef Afridi (http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/16917). In March 2011, HRCP coordinator Mr Naeem Sabir was also killed. All three defenders were active in campaigning against enforced disappearances in Balochistan.
Front Line Defenders expresses concern on the reported assassination plot against Asma Jahagir, and believes it to be directly related to her affiliation to HRCP and to her work in the defence of human rights, in particular her activities in highlighting human rights violations in Balochistan. Front Line Defenders views this latest threat as part of an ongoing campaign of intimidation against HRCP members, and calls for their immediate protection.