Eminent Pak human rights activist Asma passes away

Death of Asma Jahangir is shocking

Who is Asma Jahangir ?

Prominent Pakistani senior lawyer and human rights activist, Asma Jahangir, passed away at the age of 66 here on Sunday. She was admitted to a private hospital last night over cardiac problem, where she breathed her last.

While condolences poured in from all sections, there was a section on people who condemned her even after she passed away.

Nobel prize victor Malala Yousafzai remarked: "Heartbroken that we lost Asma Jahangir - a saviour of democracy and human rights".

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

Jahangir was also a vocal opponent of judicial overreach and would often confront the superior judiciary when it would extend its jurisdiction in her opinion.

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Jahangir is survived by a son and two daughters.

In the early '80s, she was imprisoned for partaking in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy during the military regime of Zia ul Haq. At the time, Ms. Jehangir was chairing the independent Pakistan Human Rights Commission.

Asma had received the Friends of Liberation War Honour conferred upon her late father Malik Ghulam Jilani by the Bangladesh government in March, 2013.

However, there were some who termed her a hypocrite, a traitor - posting a picture of her receiving an award from Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina - and even an "Indian agent". She had served as United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion and human rights.

Jahangir was born in Lahore on January 27, 1952.

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Her family was threatened and her driver was beaten up in 1995 for her daring to defend a 14-year-old Salamat Masih who on the accusation of blasphemy.

Her first foray into politics was in 1969, when she participated in a women's march to the residence of the governor of Punjab and clashed with the police.

She asked whether the two Bangladeshis were more important than the people living in Pakistan. Police surrounded her office at the human rights commission, arrested her with other activists, and hustled them into vans as a crowd watched.

"South Asia has lost an ardent advocate of women's rights and democracy by the death of Asma Jahangir".

General Musharraf openly expressed his hate for Asma Jehangir for raising her voice against missing persons often picked up by the intelligence agencies and never produced before the courts. Her courage to speak truth to power was unprecedented and exemplary.

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