Town mourns death of Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir

12 February, 2018, 01:22 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Asma Jahangir

Human rights activists and organisations across the globe grieved the demise of Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani senior lawyer and a strong voice of the oppressed, who passed away on Sunday. She was admitted to a private hospital last night over cardiac problem, where she breathed her last. Local TV stations broadcast footage showing public figures and Jehangir's friends sobbing and consoling each other outside her residence as her body was brought home from a hospital.

Jahangir was one of the founders of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a forum that went on to highlight rights violations across the country.

Jahangir was also the co-chair of South Asians for Human Rights.

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 courageous politicians of Pakistan.

Jahangir was arrested in 2007 by the government of then-military ruler Pervez Musharraf and held under house arrest.

In 1983, her pro-democracy struggle against dictator Zia ul Haq landed her in jail.

A champion of human rights, Jehangir was unafraid to speak loudly against those attacking minority religions and women.

She refused to leave the country despite the threats, however, and told the British newspaper the Telegraph that she would not follow other activists out of the country. In 2012 she claimed her life was in danger from the feared Inter Services Intelligence spy agency. As a daughter, mother and legal expert, she had left irremovable imprints on the judicial and political history of Pakistan, he remarked.

More recently she spoke out against BBC Persian journalists being put on trial in Iran, as part of her role as United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

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.

Asma Jilani was born in Lahore on January 27, 1952, the daughter of a Pakistani legislator from an upper-class family.

In recent years, she was outspoken over the misuse of blasphemy laws that carry the death sentence.

She asked whether the two Bangladeshis were more important than the people living in Pakistan.

"She was and will remain an inspiration".

She got her LLB degree from University of Punjab in 1978.

PTI leader Asad Umar said: "Sorry to hear about asma jahangir passing away". Her courage to speak truth to power was unprecedented and exemplary.


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