Pakistan's human rights champion dies

Asma Jahangir Asma Jahangir passes away Asma Jahangir dead Asma Jahangir news pakistan

Prominent Pakistani human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir has died at the age of 66.

In 1987 she co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and became its Secretary General until 1993 when she was elevated as commission's chairperson.

She worked closely with her sister Hina Jilani on many of her endeavours.

"She was rushed to Hameed Latif Hospital Lahore where she breathed her last".

Quoting family sources, Geo News reported that Asma's funeral will be held on February 13. Legal associations across Pakistan announced three days of mourning.

In a condolence message, President Mamnoon Hussain expressed grief over Asma's death, saying she rendered "unprecedented" services for the rule of law. "Her spirit will live as long as that voice in our head keeps telling us what is not right, what must not be tolerated, why not to give in or give up".

Soon, she was taking on controversial legal cases that thrust her into the public eye but also involved violence, prison and death threats. It is an irreparable loss. She was attacked for advocating peace with India, and was often accused of being an Indian agent or a traitor.

"I remember meeting her along with party colleagues H S Dhami and Dr Manjinder Singh at Circut House Amritsar on 3rd March 2008 to present memorandum to her on Sikh issues".

She was a wise and fearless warrior of human rights who included in her report the complaints of families regarding the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran.

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One widely shared tweet came from Malala Yousafzai, 20, the Pakistani activist for girls' education who was almost assassinated by Taliban militants as a teenager.

A fierce defender of democracy, she often criticized Pakistan's military and intelligence.

"In bonded labour cases, judges would ask me why I had brought those people to the courts who stank".

Amnesty International's South Asia director Omar Waraich said she had "never wavered".

Asma was born in Pakistan's Lahore city. "God bless her soul", Asif tweeted. She gained worldwide acclaim for being the voice of conscience in a country where liberal, secular voices have been continuously under threat.

Jahangir is survived by a son and two daughters. Her barbed, witty comments in hundreds of news conferences, TV interviews and more recent tweets delighted liberal fans and infuriated conservative critics. She was called to the Lahore High Court in 1980 and to the Supreme Court in 1982. "A lioness. You don't get to claim her for your own gender".

In 1983, her pro-democracy struggle against dictator Zia ul Haq landed her in jail.

While presenting her report to the Human Rights Council, she was interrupted by a furious Syrian representative who assailed her at the behest of the Iranian regime.

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