R.I.P. Cass. You fought the good fight.

My photo of Cass, London, March 2012

An email from our mutual friend Gita Sahgal informs me that Cassandra Balchin passed away peacefully this morning in London, barely a few months after being diagnosed with cancer, too late for cure.  I am so grateful for our friendship and our time together. Saw her in London just before the diagnosis, but I had no idea she was so ill until just a week ago. She leaves behind her mother, her sons Dani and Raul, brother Charles and a host of friends around the world, especially in Pakistan where she lived and worked for 17 years, based in Lahore as a journalist and activist, focusing on gender, religion and human rights issues. The funeral will be held around July 22nd or 23rd. Those wanting to send messages may email Cass.Friends@gmail.com.
She initially worked with Viewpoint and later The Frontier Post (1983-1991) and then with the publications of Women Living Under Muslims Laws (WLUML) network, working at the office of the women’s group Shirkat Gah, WLUML’s Asia Regional Coordination Office (1991-2000). She returned to England in 2000, to set up WLUML’s international coordination office, and later helped set up the Muslim Women’s Network, UK. As chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, she was passionately involved in the February 14, 2009 launch of Musawah (which means ‘equality’ in Arabic), a call for equality and justice “in the Muslim family”. As she wrote, this global initiative of activists and scholars from over 20 countries around the Muslim world is based on the premise that “there cannot be justice without equality” between men and women.

. Links to some of her work below.

11 Responses

  1. So sorry to see a great contributor go


  2. You conveniently avoided to mention her ex-husband and life long friend Dr.Qais Aslam who is equally grieved if not less,with her death.Is this what you claim as objective & fair journalism!!


    • You’re very quick to judge. It was not deliberate omission. It’s not a news report – I wrote the post at 3.30 am. My condolences to Qais also.


  3. thank you for the picture!


  4. I am very sad to hear this news, may her soul rest in peace.
    Murtaza Afghani


  5. I am so very sorry to hear this news! Cassandra was a friend, her children were at my school (LSAS) and we had many a discussion over cups of cha in my office. Her death is great loss, my condolences to the family.


  6. Email about Cassandra’s funeral: Tuesday July 24th, at 3 pm

    New Southgate Cemetery, Brunswick Park Road, N11 1JJ
    We are asking for only family flowers but if you wish to make a donation to Marie Curie Cancer Care then please make cheques payable to them and send to A Seaward and Sons, 388 Bowes Road, New Southgate, N11 1AH.
    The service will be non-religious as Cassandra requested. There will be elements of all the things that were important to her including readings and some of her favourite music.
    Afterwards we will be going to a local cricket club with wonderful views for refreshments. We hope those of you celebrating Ramadan will understand and will still be able to join us.
    Once again thank you for all your love and support at this difficult time.
    Charles, Raul and Dani


  7. a loss, may her soul be in peace in heavens, so very sad to hear about her. GOD bless her.


  8. Beena, she was a good mate, and can’t forget Cassandra and Qais, when I met them first time. I am in shock to hear this..She was a lovely and a very strong person. My condolences to all the family…and friends…xxx RIP Cass


  9. I was with VIEWPOINT from 1979-1984. She was a regular contributor. I met her many a times. She was dedicated worker, humanist and brilliant.


  10. Oh, It is a sad news. I met her during the viewpoint time and many other occasions in Lahore. She was a wonderful person and a true human rights activist. She worked so hard for a better Pakistani society.


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