Asma Jahangir: Pakistan human rights champion dies

Asma Jahangir: Pakistan human rights champion dies

Asma Jahangir: Pakistan human rights champion dies

Known as Pakistan's Iron Lady, Asma passed away on Sunday due to a cardiac arrest in Lahore. Her sister, Jilani, told Pakistan's Geo News TV that her death was "not just the family's loss, but also of those who are voiceless and whose voices she raised". She remained the Supreme Court Bar President from 2010 to 2012. She was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions and later as the UN Rapporteur of Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Jahangir, a Ramon Magsaysay award recipient, fought against the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq and was imprisoned in 1983 for participating in the pro-democracy movement.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of Pakistan's recently ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif tweeted, "Democracy, human rights and resistance against oppression lost a great soldier- Asma Jehangir".

Pakistani media reported that the 66-year-old had also been under treatment for cancer for many years.

He said the death of Asma Jahangir was sad news for the whole nation that had made the country bereft of a bold and principled personality. She represented several clients who were denied their fundamental rights and defended cases of minorities, women and children in prisons.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi said: "My dearest friend and leader Asma Jehangir has passed away".

In a condolence message, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain expressed grief over Jahangir's death, saying she rendered unprecedented services for the rule of law.

In 2007, she was put under house arrest after the imposition of martial law following the lawyers' movement. She served on several missions for the United Nations and won numerous worldwide awards.

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.

She was also awarded a UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights and an Officier de la Légion d'honneur by France.

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

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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