Pakistan’s well known human right activist and senior lawyer Asma Jahangir passwed away in Lahore on Sunday, ANI reported. According to reports, she died of cardiac arrest. She was 66. “Asma suffered heart attack today morning and she was rushed to Hameed Latif Hospital Lahore where she breathed her last. Doctors tried to save her life but couldn’t,” senior lawyer Adeel Raja said.
As the news of her death broke condolences started pouring in from the lawyers, rights activists and politicians terming it a “great loss” for Pakistan. She is survived by two daughters and a son. Her daughter Muneezay Jehangir is a TV anchor.
Born in 1952, Jahangir did her schooling at the Convent of Jesus and Mary and completed her LLB from the Punjab University in 1978.
She co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in 1987 and became its Secretary General until 1993 when she was elevated as commission’s chairperson. Later, she also became president of Supreme Court Bar Association.
Jahangir was also co-chair of South Asians for Human Rights. She was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or summary executions and later as the United Nations Rapporteur of Freedom of religion or belief.
In the year 1983, Jahangir was put under house arrest and later imprisoned for participating in the movement for the restoration of political and fundamental rights during the military regime. She was again put under house arrest in November 2007 when she agitated along with lawyers in response to the former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf’s decision of unconstitutionally suspending Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
She has received several awards, including a Hilal-i-Imtiaz and a Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2010. She was also awarded a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights and an Officier de la Legion d’honneur by France. Jahangir is also a recipient of the 2010 Freedom Award and 2014 Right Livelihood Award.
(With agencies input)