15 February, 2018
The funeral prayers for Asma Jahangir, Pakistans human rights icon and staunch critic of the countrys powerful army, were offered here today at the Gaddafi Stadium which was attended by thousands of mourners, including women.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi expressed grief at Asma Jahangir's death, praising the lawyer and former United Nations special rapporteur's contribution to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding human rights.
Her death has sparked an outpouring of tributes from global human rights groups and political leaders, including the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres - who called her a "human rights giant" - and Pakistan's Nobel prize victor Malala Yousafzai.
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. She previously served as Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (2004 to 2010) and Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions (1998 to 2004).
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"In a country where women were being victimised in the name of a draconian law, it was Asma who stood up and proved to be a beacon of hope for the new generation", she said.
Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday urged the federal government to give a state funeral to Asma Jahangir to honour her for providing selfless services to the nation over the decades. She successfully took up the Saima Waheed case, which guaranteed the right of adult women to make their own choice in marriage - one of the most important cases in Pakistan's legal history.
Asma not only played an active role in creating these two civil society bodies but also continuously supported them to strengthen their role in upholding fundamental rights and democracy in the country.
Following her death, heartfelt tributes to her life have been expressed by people from around the world.
"Ms. Jahangir called for vital human rights reforms and took urgent action on a large number of cases, affecting many lives in Iran", said a statement released by a group of human rights organizations. Their clients included Christians facing death sentences on blasphemy charges, bonded labourers who had fled the oppressive grip of feudal landowners, and women who faced violence at home. She got her law degree from the Punjab University in 1978 before plunging into a long career of human rights advocacy. At the time of her death, Asma Jahangir was also a member of Amnesty International's Regional Advisory Group for the Asia-Pacific region. The recipient of many awards including the 2014 Right Livelihood Award, she will continue as an emblem of the struggle for human rights and democracy in Pakistan, RSF believes.