Human rights icon Asma Jahangir passes away in Lahore

Human rights icon Asma Jahangir passes away in Lahore

Human rights icon Asma Jahangir passes away in Lahore

Pakistan's top lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jehangir passed away on Sunday due to a cardiac arrest in Lahore, her family said in a statement.

Born on January 27, 1952, Jehangir had a prominent career both as a lawyer and rights activist.

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?"

Jahangir was arrested in 2007 by the government of then-military ruler Pervez Musharraf and held under house arrest. Her barbed, witty comments in hundreds of news conferences, TV interviews and more recent tweets delighted liberal fans and infuriated conservative critics.

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

Born in 1952, in Lahore, she completed her bachelor's degree from Punjab University and went to the U.S., Canada and Switzerland to pursue her higher legal study.

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

"It is a tribute to a large number of Pakistanis who have worked relentlessly for better human rights in the country", she said. "She was on official visit to India and Punjab in the capacity the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief of the United Nations Human Rights Council", said Kanwarpal Singh, while expressing grief over her death.

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

Jahangir, a human rights lawyer, had a reputation of speaking truth to power and defending the weak and the marginalized, women and minorities against injustice.

She worked closely with her sister Hina Jilani on many of her endeavours. She was fully a woman in her courage and steadfastedness.

Nandita said Asma's death was a massive loss to the neighbouring country.

Daily Times Editor Raza Ahmad Rumi called her a "hero".

66-year old Asma Jahangir was born on January 27, 1952 in Lahore in the house of Malik Ghulam Jillani who is also remembered as one of the most honest and fearless politicians of Pakistan. She served on several missions for the United Nations and won numerous global awards.

The activist was put under house arrest and later imprisoned in 1983 for participating in the movement for the restoration of political and fundamental rights during the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq.

She received several awards, both national and global, for her incalculable efforts for human rights everywhere.

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