This student-led organization is educating people on their legal rights
In a country faced with numerous legal injustices, perhaps the biggest hurdle to bringing about equality of the law is the lack of political awareness of one’s rights. Realizing this, a Lahore-based student-led organization – Aagah Pakistan – took it upon themselves to work to bring about legal awareness in their society. Team PG reached out to them to get a better understanding of their organization and motivations.
Tell us a bit about your organization and what it does.
Aagah Pakistan is a youth-led initiative which aims to inform individuals in Pakistan about their rights as proclaimed in the Constitution of Pakistan. We’re all high school students from Aitchison. Our team is made up of Saad Atif, Isa Iqbal, Ahsan Javed and Mahir Hassan. Aagah – an Urdu word meaning “To make aware” perfectly summarizes the aims of the organization. We are working to increase legal awareness within Pakistan and cut back on the stereotype of “Pakistan mein konsay haqooq hain“. Only by completely understanding what our rights are can we hope to build a society whose members respect one another and one that not only stands up for its own rights but also has the ability to differentiate between right and wrong.
What encouraged you and your team to take this initiative?
Legal awareness within Pakistan is limited. We see lots of cases of individuals realizing that there was something wrong in what they or someone else was doing. But they were unaware whether or not it was illegal and that affected their judgement. It was because of these misconceptions regarding the law that we decided to form an organization that not only advocated for the law but also increases awareness in a very effective way. Therefore, we decided to break down the complications of law as simply as possible: Small legal tidbits on social media to maximize accessibility.
Why do you think legal awareness is so absent within our country?
Legal awareness is absent primarily because it’s rarely taught to the youth at early stage. Furthermore, some people who are in the limelight spread misconceptions regarding the law and that distorts awareness. Also, legal awareness is limited because the people that make the system, instead of courting the law, are contributing to its inefficiency. Law in Pakistan has become political. In order to increase legal awareness, we need to first debunk the different stigmas that are attached to the perception of the legal system. We also think that vigilante culture must come to an end once people realize that the law is sufficient to deal with everyone.
What do you see in the future of this country as far as laws are concerned?
We are optimistic about the future. Young people are slowly becoming more vocal about their opinions and realizing the power of what is right and what is wrong under the basis of the law. Only after we realize what our rights are can we stand up for ourselves. The more the youth becomes aware of the rights that were bestowed upon them at birth, the stronger the impact of the laws and constitutional rights will be.
How can people support you and your work?
People can support us by promoting our work vocally and on social media. They can also volunteer to help us in our research work, publishing articles, and also share their stories and experiences with the law and judiciary in general. To support us, head over to our Instagram and Facebook handles to understand the importance of the articles in the Pakistani Constitution.
The best way to help our cause is to educate yourselves regarding the Constitution and the rights it guarantees you. We also aim to start seminars and workshops regarding legal rights when this pandemic slows down and we would love it if lots of people attend them.
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