U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in opening remarks at her press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, addressed a wide range of problems in Pakistan, including those faced by journalists. (The full statement is on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.) What was especially gratifying was her mention of meeting with human rights defender and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir at her home–a request we made on Tuesday of Pillay and E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who was also on an official trip to Pakistan.
Pillay did so after Jahangir publicized that she had been informed by a reliable source of a plan “at the highest level of the security apparatus” to have her killed because of her exposure of human rights abuses.
Particularly reassuring was Pillay’s statement that after discussing Jahangir’s case with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, she was given assurances that the government “has provided her with extra security, and that he and the president have called her to inform her of their efforts to ensure her safety. I urge them to extend this level of responsiveness to other less known people who face similar threats, and to launch an investigation to identify the sources of these threats and take appropriate action.” That call for protection of “less known people” is one CPJ has made before in the cases of journalists under threat.