Prominent Pakistani lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir passes away

Death of Asma Jahangir is shocking

Leading Pakistani human rights advocate, lawyer and former United Nations special rapporteur Asma Jahangir has died of cardiac arrest, her family said Sunday.

Few Pakistani rights activists have achieved the credibility of Jahangir.

Her daughters were kidnapped and assaulted in 2008.

According to media reports, she was also suffering from cancer and remained under treatment for years.

Born in Lahore on January 27, 1952, Jahangir completed her bachelors of arts and law from Lahore and then went on to pursue higher legal studies from Switzerland, Canada and US. She was former president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). Pakistan has lost a passionate champion of human rights and a staunch supporter of democracy. In a lecture at Oxford University in 2017, she charged that "the military controls the country through the deep state", while "the politicians are playing at democracy, hanging onto the cliff with their claws".

She was repeatedly threatened by the country's militant religious right, whom she criticized loudly and often.

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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"When they were putting me in the police van, they assured that my photograph was taken while my back was bare", Ms. Jehangir said.

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 gained global acclaim for being the voice of conscience in a country where liberal, secular voices have been continuously under threat.

"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". Her sister Hina Jilani has rightly said it is a loss for everyone as she took up cases of the voiceless.

Jahangir, who previously served as a UN Rapporteur of Freedom of religion or belief, was shifted on Saturday to a private hospital in Lahore, where she breathed her last, The News International reported.

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.

The activist and lawyer received several awards, including the French Legion of Honor and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She was most unwanted person by establishment of Pakistan during all marial Laws but she never compromised or bowed down against dictatorial rules.

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