Nation mourns death of leading human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir

Nation mourns death of leading human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir

Born in Lahore in Janurary 1952, Jahangir dedicated her distinguished career to defending the rights of women, minorities, and children from religious extremism, honor killings, and blasphemy laws.

She was not only a symbol of bravery and strength for the people of Pakistan but also an inspiration for women across the globe.

She was the co-founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Women's Action Forum, and actively participated in protests against the establishment.

After her graduation from the prestigious Kinnaird College and LLB from the Punjab University in 1978, she hit the headlines when she enthusiastically jumped into the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) against the Zia ul-Haq dictatorship and was jailed. Local TV stations broadcast footage showing public figures and Jehangir's friends sobbing and consoling each other outside her residence as her body was brought home from a hospital.

Senior researcher at Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Baseer Naveed echoed the popular thought that Pakistan has lost a strong voice of democracy, intolerance, rule of law and human rights.

According to reports, she had been suffering from cancer and remained under treatment for years.

A user tweeted, "Hearing a really bad news about Asma Jahangir Sahiba and praying it isn't true". She was one of the few Pakistani who spoke against the state atrocities against the Baloch people and fought for their rights.

In 2007, the renowned activist was put under house arrest, when she agitated along with lawyers in response to the former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf's decision of unconstitutionally suspending Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as the chief justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court.

Raza Ahmad Rumi of the Pakistan Daily Times called her a hero. She had served as United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion and human rights.

Pakistani activist Muniba Mazari said: "Rest in Power!"

She is survived by a son and two daughters.

Jahangir received several national awards, including the Sitara-I-Imtiaz in 1995.

Asma Jahangir won many national as well as worldwide awards including Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 1995, Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2010, and various others. In 2012 she claimed her life was in danger from the feared Inter Services Intelligence spy agency.

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