Asma Jahangir: Pakistan human rights champion dies

by Garry Watts February 12, 2018, 0:41
Asma Jahangir: Pakistan human rights champion dies

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.

Asma Jahangir was born on January 27, 1952. Besides serving as Bar Association President, Jahangir also served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution and as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

She was jailed in 1983 for participating in a pro-democracy movement against then military ruler Gen. Muhammad Ziaul Haq.

Human rights activists, politicians and many others took to Twitter to express their grief. As a daughter, mother and legal expert, she had left irremovable imprints on the judicial and political history of Pakistan, he remarked. Four years later, she co-founded the Human Rights Commision of Pakistan and served as its Secretary General until 1993 when she was elevated as commission's chairperson.

" 'Speaking truth to power, ' a phrase we often use, Asma Jehangir lived, practiced till her last breath", said another activist, Raza Ahmed Rumi.

In an interview with DW following her win, Jagangir described the Swedish award as recognition of all rights activists in Pakistan who work under very hard circumstances. She was one of the few Pakistani who spoke against the state atrocities against the Baloch people and fought for their rights.

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

She has also been an outspoken critic of the Pakistan's powerful military establishment, including during her tenure as the first-ever female leader of Pakistan's top bar association. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and is now studying at Oxford.

She remained Supreme Court Bar President from 2010 to 2012.

The people of South Asia, as well as followers of her work world-over, are mourning the sudden death of Jahangir who was recognised for her activism, particularly surrounding human rights, women's rights, and minorities rights in Pakistan.

Jahangir received several national awards, including the Sitara-I-Imtiaz in 1995.

Pakistan's former foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, tweeted, "There' s no one who can match her bravery and courage".


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