Asma Jahangir dies at 66

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Prominent lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir passed away in Lahore due to a cardiac arrest

12 February, 2018

Pakistan lost one of the greatest and most respected human rights icon as Asma Jahangir died on Sunday.

Known for her bravery and persistence, she had fought for almost four decades in Pakistan's human rights war, defending the rights of women, children, and religious minorities.

She had also criticised Pakistan government for demonstrating a "disproportionately high passion" against the execution of two top war criminals in Bangladesh in November, 2015.

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

Jahangir also served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights.

Human rights activists, politicians and many others took to Twitter to express their grief.

Asma, well-known in Bangladesh, had a link with the birth of country as her father was arrested in 1971 for denouncing Pakistan army atrocities and genocide.

Journalist Naila Inayat, termed her death "the end to an era" while Mehreen Zahra-Malik, another journalist, tweeted: "A male friend once asked: why is Asma Jahangir always so angry?"

She is widely known for playing a prominent role in the Lawyers' Movement and served as the trustee at the International Crisis Group. She was hailed as a courageous crusader, awarded dozens of worldwide honors, nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and described as "the gutsiest woman" in Pakistan. "It's everyone's loss. What a sad day!" she said.

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Few Pakistani rights activists have achieved the credibility of Jahangir.

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

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

She was 66 years old.

She was again put under house arrest in November 2007 after the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan.

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

Asma was often criticised by right wingers for her stance towards freedom of speech and against the use of religion to curb progressive voices.

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 courageous and dedicated rights and social activist and above all the voice of the voiceless", said he.

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