Eminent Pak human rights activist Asma passes away

Posted February 12, 2018

Tributes have been paid to the prominent Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir after her death on Sunday in Lahore.

Known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit for human rights, Asma, 66, was the first woman to serve as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.

In 1987, she co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and became its Secretary General until 1993 when she was elevated as its chairperson. She was also appointed as United Nations rapporteur in the region during the 1990s.

Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai said on Twitter she was "heartbroken" at the death of the "savior of democracy and human rights", especially as the pair had just met in Britain a week ago. Asma Jahangir lived, practiced till her last breath.

Asma Jahangir was elected as SCBA president on October 27, 2010. As a fearless towering figure, death threats, imprisonment and beatings always knocked at her door, when she raised her voice against the powerful military establishment and pushed for human rights cases.

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She often had a tempestuous relation with the Pakistani state.

Jahangir's supporters and former opponents alike took to social media to offer their condolences and express shock at news of her death.

One high-profile moment came in 2007, when Pakistan's dignified legal community launched a street protest movement to demand an end to military rule under army Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

A fierce defender of democracy, she often criticized Pakistan's military and intelligence. "It's everyone's loss. What a sad day!" she said.

Jahangir is also a recipient of the 2010 Freedom Award and 2014 Right Livelihood Award. On its website, the worldwide rights body praised her for her "contribution to the cause of human rights" for which she received multiple awards both nationally and internationally.

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Few Pakistani rights activists have achieved the credibility of Jahangir.

Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai called her a "saviour of democracy and human rights".

A mother of one son and two daughters, Jahangir was also the co-chair of South Asians for Human Rights.

Asma Jahangir won many national as well as global awards including Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 1995, Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2010, and various others. She was fully a woman in her courage and steadfastedness.

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