Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Prominent Pakistani lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir passes away

Prominent Pakistani lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir passes away

Eminent Pakistani human rights defender and lawyer Asma Jahangir passed away in Lahore yesterday.

The representative of Baloch Republican Party to the UNHRC, Abdul Nawaz Bugti said that Asma Jahangir was a courageous voice of the oppressed people, including the Baloch who stood for their rights and spoke truth to the power. Zaid Hamid, a controversial political commentator known to have a liking for conspiracy theories, compared her to a Pakistani politician who is accused of treachery and inciting violence.

Jehangir co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and was president of the Supreme Court's Bar Association.

More recently she spoke out against BBC Persian journalists being put on trial in Iran, as part of her role as United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

Comments on Twitter, like the one below from a person apparently belonging to Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, where activists often complain of enforced disappearances and other rights violations, show how those in the country who felt oppressed viewed her.

"Just heard the devastating news that Asma Jehangir passed away".

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.

"Heartbroken that we lost Asma Jahangir - a saviour of democracy and human rights". She defended minority Christians charged with blasphemy, an offense that under Pakistan's controversial law carries the death penalty.

Following the sad news, messages of grief and condolences were shared on social media as well as by prominent officials, including the president and Supreme Court chief justice.

More news: Rodgers sinks birdie putt on 18th hole at Pebble Beach Pro

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif spoke about Asma's work for women and stance against dictators, saying it would be hard to fill the void left by her death. She remained house arrest in 2007 for nine days.

She received several awards, including a Hilal-i-Imtiaz and a Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2010.

According to her sister, Hina Jilani, the funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. her daughter Munizae Jahangir, In a statement by said that the family waited for relatives to return to their hometown of Lahore.

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.

Jahangir was arrested in 2007 by the government of then-military ruler Pervez Musharraf and held under house arrest.

She was also an outspoken critic of the powerful military establishment, including during her stint as the first-ever female leader of Pakistan's top bar association.

Zohra Yousuf, a former chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said she lost a "great friend and great warrior of human rights".

Here, she is seen receiving the Right Livelihood Award in Sweden in 2014. She was fully a woman in her courage and steadfastedness.

Like this: