Asma Jahangir, one of Pakistan’s most prominent human rights activists, succumbed to cardiac arrest on Sunday, 11 February, in Lahore. She was 66.Her funeral is scheduled for February 13. She is survived by two daughters and a son.
A staunch voice against religious extremism and military regimes, Jahangir was a vocal proponent of democracy and secularism.
I am devastated @ loss of my mother Asma Jahangir.We shall B announcing date of funeral soon.We R waiting 4 our relatives 2 return 2 Lahore
— Munizae Jahangir (@MunizaeJahangir) February 11, 2018
The life of a relentless activist
A fierce opponent of the military and theocratic factions that have plagued Pakistan in recent decades, Jahangir led a remarkable life that included house arrests, imprisonments and a plan by Pakistani intelligence officers to have her assassinated (as documents leaked five years ago suggested). She was jailed in 1983 for protesting against the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq and was again out under house arrest in 2007 when a state of emergency was declared by Pervez Musharraf.
A graduate of Punjab University, Jahangir was called to her country’s Supreme Court at the age of 30.She was the co-founder and chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, President of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association (the first woman to do so) and UN special rapporteur for Freedom of Religion and the UN special rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran.She had also co-chaired South Asia Forum for Human Rights and was the vice president of International Federation for Human Rights.
Condolences pour in from all quarters
Lawyers, activists and politicians termed Jahangir’s death a “great loss” for Pakistan. Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain expressed grief over Jahangir’s death, saying she rendered unprecedented services for the rule of law.“Today, the country has been deprived of a courageous and disciplined person, who was the voice of the voiceless,” Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, adding that Jahangir fought fearlessly for human rights.
Jahangir is the recipient of several awards including the 2014 Right Livelihood Award (along with Edward Snowden), 2010 Freedom Award, Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2010, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Ramon Magsaysay Award, 1995 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (the “Nobel Prize for human rights”), and the UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights. She was also awarded an Officier de la Légion d’honneur by France.
Heartbroken that we lost Asma Jahangir – a saviour of democracy and human rights.
I met her a week ago in Oxford. I cannot believe she is no more among us. The best tribute to her is to continue her fight for human rights and democracy. pic.twitter.com/Tf7VOYfvq5
— Malala (@Malala) February 11, 2018
Asma Jahangir was the bravest person I knew. She fearlessly stood up to dictators, thugs, misogynists. She was never daunted by the attacks that came her way. She never wavered from her principles. Her loss is incalculable.
— Omar Waraich (@OmarWaraich) February 11, 2018
Asma Jahangir , undoubtedly the bravest and the most resilient fighter for human rights who had the courage to face the wrath of the dictators and the fury of the fundamentalist Mulla has passed away . It is the loss of the whole Sub continent .
— Javed Akhtar (@Javedakhtarjadu) February 11, 2018
‘Speaking truth to power’ a phrase, we often use. #AsmaJahangir lived,practiced till her last breath. Questioned mullahs, military, judges, politicians, all the powerful;defended downtrodden. Faced threats &
attacks. Was never afraid.What a hero. We have to contend with a void. pic.twitter.com/NFamtObL0s
— Raza Ahmad Rumi (@Razarumi) February 11, 2018