Pakistan's human right activist Asma Jahangir passes away

Pakistan       by Sarfraz Ali | Published

Pakistan by Sarfraz Ali | Published

Condolences poured in on Sunday afternoon after the sudden death of leading Pakistan human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir earlier in the day.

Though the exact cause of her death is not yet known, Pakistani media reports said she died due to cardiac arrest.

"She was courageous and dedicated rights and social activist and above all the voice of the voiceless", said he.

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

Comments on Twitter, like the one below from a person apparently belonging to Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, where activists often complain of enforced disappearances and other rights violations, show how those in the country who felt oppressed viewed her.

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif spoke about Asma's work for women and stance against dictators, saying it would be hard to fill the void left by her death. "I disagreed with many of her political positions but respected the fact that she clearly stood up for what she believed in". She has also been Supreme Court Bar Association president. She had also appealed to the Supreme Court to order retrial in all cases in which military courts have handed down convictions, including capital punishments.

She became a pro-democracy activist and was jailed in 1983 for participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, which agitated against military dictator Ziaul Haq's regime.

A decade later, long after democratic rule was restored, she was still denouncing the power of Pakistan's military and intelligence establishments and the façade of civilian control. Years later, she was detained again by the government of then military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

She was born in Lahore in politically active family in 1952.

Activist Marvi Sarmad tweeted: "Today it's not only Pakistan who will cry".

"The best tribute to her", Yousafzai tweeted, "is to continue her fight for human rights and democracy".

She received a Bachelors' degree from Kinnaird and and an LLB from Punjab University.

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

Jahangir had also served at the president of Supreme Court Bar Association. She served on several missions for the United Nations and won numerous worldwide awards.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced, according to a statement by her daughter Munizae Jahangir, as the family waited for relatives to return to their hometown of Lahore.

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