Case #99
Title: Defending Women's Rights in Pakistan
Summary: Lawyer-activist Hina Jilani has spent a majority of her life witnessing injustice and fighting against it. The product of a political family (her father served as an opposition member of Parliament), Jilani studied law at Punjab University in Lahore. In 1980, with her sister and two other attorneys, she founded the first women's law firm in Pakistan - an organization that helped win a number of cases which later served as important legal precedents for women's rights. A year later, Jilani also helped form the Women's Action Forum in response to the Islamization of the legal system in Pakistan, which created laws which were discriminatory towards Pakistani women. The first purely secular organization in Pakistan, the Women's Action Forum organized demonstrations in 1983 which helped trigger the wider women's movement in Pakistan which continues today.
Comments: Jilani goes on to state in this interview that although the legal precedents have affected women's legal status to a great extent, the practical effect on the lives of Pakistani women has been very small.

"And that is because of a lack of strong public policy by governments to implement some of our demands, like the repeal of those notorious Hudood laws."
Location: Pakistan
Action: Human Rights
Setting: Developed World
Extent of Action: National
Categories: Human Rights
Year(s): 1980
Outcome in progress
Source: Amnesty Now, Spring 2000
Prepared By: rja, 7/01
Rating: 1