Human rights activist Shehla Zia dies
LAHORE. March 11, 2005: Shehla Zia, a prominent human rights activist and the joint executive director of the Aurat Foundation, died on Thursday morning in Islamabad after protracted illness at the age of 58.
She is survived by two daughters, Ayesha Baidar and Maleeha Zia, and a son, Aimal Zia. Her funeral was held in Islamabad and was attended by hundreds of human rights activists, lawyers, parliamentarians and members of civil society organisations.
Shehla Zia offered a number of services to the cause of human rights particularly of women rights. She authored many books on women’s legal rights and contributed to the preparation of a report for an enquiry commission headed by Justice (r) Aslam Nasir Zahid, that drew attention to women’s legal and human rights.
The report is recognised as the best reference book about the status of women and their rights. Shehla Zia was the founding partner of the AGHS women’s law firm and legal aid centre in 1980. She was a pioneering activist of the Women’s Action Forum and was one of those jailed for protesting against the law of evidence in the Lahore High Court in 1983.
She was at the forefront of the struggle against all discriminatory laws against women and non-Muslim Pakistanis. Her immense contribution to law reform and research on women’s legal, political and development issues will form a shining chapter in the history of the women’s movement in Pakistan. All Aurat Foundation offices throughout the country will remain close today (Friday) to pay tribute to Shehla Zia’s services.
Source: Daily Times