Asma Jahangir awarded UN prize for work in human rights

In this file photo, Pakistani leading human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer Asma Jahangir gestures as she gives an interview to AFP in Lahore on Oct. 4, 2014. (AFP)
Updated 27 October 2018

Asma Jahangir awarded UN prize for work in human rights

  • Jahangir joins list of notable winners such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela
  • The award is handed out every five years to honor people and organizations that take a stand for human rights

ISLAMABAD: The late Asma Jahangir, a renowned lawyer and human-rights activist, has been awarded the United Nations Human Rights Prize in recognition of her tireless and dedicated devotion to the cause. The prize is presented every five years by the UN in recognition of outstanding achievements by individuals or organizations in the field.
Jahangir died in February 2018 at the age of 66, and her death was seen by many as a mighty blow to Pakistan. Though at times a polarizing figure politically, she was a relentless advocate for the rights of the disenfranchised and voiceless, in particular taking on the causes of children, women, minorities and laborers, and she was an outspoken supporter of secular laws.
During the course of her campaigning she was arrested and placed under house arrest on several occasions, but remained unafraid to take on anyone in defense of human rights. She was an outspoken critic of the Zia-ul-Haq regime in Pakistan in the 1970s and 1980s, and dictatorships in general, which led one spell of house arrest, and she encouraged citizens to always take their governments to task.
Jahangir’s career stretched from the courtroom to activism in the streets. She was the co-founder and chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and a grass-roots member of the Lawyers’ Movement. She also served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and as a trustee at the International Crisis Group. In addition, she was the first woman to serve as Pakistan’s President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Jahangir joins notable international winners of the prize, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. There have been two other winners from Pakistan: Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan, in 1978, and Benazir Bhutto who was awarded the prize in 2008, the year after she was assassinated.
The announced was made by the president of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa. Jahangir is being honored alongside Rebeca Gyumi of Tanzania, Joênia Wapichana of Brazil, and the Ireland-based organization Front Line Defenders.

South Africa's Du Plessis says bubble life is not sustainable for players

Updated 23 January 2021

South Africa's Du Plessis says bubble life is not sustainable for players

  • South Africa's Du Plessis says bubble life is not sustainable for players
  • The South African player beleives Babar Azam and Shaheen Afridi can pose problems for his team

ISLAMABAD: South African cricketer Faf du Plessis believes spending months in a bio-secure bubble could soon become a major challenge for players.

“We understand that this is a very tough season and a tough challenge for a lot of people out there, but if it’s back-to-back-to-back bubble life, things would become a big challenge,” du Plessis said during a virtual news conference on Saturday.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, cricketers have to adhere to strict procedures for an international series. In countries like Pakistan, international games are being played in empty stadiums and players' movement confined to just their hotel and stadiums.

Du Plessis is one of those South African cricketers, along with captain Quinton de Kock, to have experienced life in a bubble over the last few months. He played in the Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates and home series against Sri Lanka. Now he has a two-test series in Pakistan, starting Tuesday in Karachi, followed by the second test at Rawalpindi.

“The main priority is to play cricket, to be out there doing what we love instead of being at home … so I think that still remains the most important thing. But I think there would definitely come a point where players would struggle with this (bubble)," du Plessis said.

“If you look at a calendar of the last eight months, you’re looking at about four or five months in a bubble, which is a lot. For some of us (being) without family, it can get challenging. Right now, I’m still in a good place. I’m still feeling really motivated and driven, but I can only speak for myself.

“I don’t think it’s possible to continue from bubble to bubble to bubble, I’ve seen and heard a lot of players talk about it. I don’t think it’s sustainable.”

The South African team practiced at the National Stadium -- the venue for the test opener -- for the first time on Saturday. Before that, the visitors had been practicing at a stadium close to the team hotel for the last four days where they played intra-squad matches.

“For now, (I'm) enjoying the four walls of my room and then the pitch outside where we can get to do what we love,” du Plessis said.

The 36-year-old du Plessis, who has appeared in 67 test matches for South Africa with a batting average topping 40, will be playing his first test in Pakistan since making his debut against Australia in 2012. Pakistan last hosted South Africa in 2007. In 2009 international cricket’s doors were shut on Pakistan after an attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team bus at Lahore.

Du Plessis has played seven test matches against Pakistan that included two in the UAE and five in South Africa.

Du Plessis is South Africa’s most experienced player touring Pakistan, but wasn’t sure what type of wickets will be prepared for the two tests.

“I think that’s possibly the biggest thing that we are unsure about,” he said.

“As a team we try to prepare for everything and anything, overprepare, spin conditions, reverse swinging ball … if I have to call it, I probably said I think that wickets will be a bit more subcontinent like than it used to be back then (in 2007), so spinners would probably be more a little bit more in the game.”

Du Plessis has picked fit-again Pakistan all-format captain Babar Azam and fast bowler Shaheen Afridi as the two players who could pose problems for the tourists. Babar has regained fitness from a fractured thumb — in his absence Pakistan lost both the Twenty20 and test series in New Zealand.

“Obviously, having Babar back is massive for them,” du Plessis said.

“Afridi has been getting a lot of wickets, so probably someone like him would be pretty dangerous.”