Pakistani human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir dies at 66

Pakistani human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir dies at 66

Bestowed the Magsaysay award and the "alternative Nobel", i.e. the Right Livelihood Award, Jahangir's campaign for human rights and democracy is no less important than that of other Nobel peace prize winners like the Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo, Iranian lawyer Shirin Ibadi or Yemen's journalist Tawakkol Karman, who all fought against the forces of authoritarianism and fundamentalism at great personal risk and sacrifice.

Undaunted, she continued to raise the profile of human rights by taking up the cases of the poorest and most helpless people, setting up - with her sister, Hina Jilani - the first centre offering legal aid in Pakistan, the AGHS Legal Aid Cell.

"This House resolves that as representatives of the people of Pakistan we are committed to the highest standards for protecting and upholding fundamental rights of every citizen and in that we consider that as upholder of rights, her loss is a national loss and Pakistan mourns her passing away", it concludes.

Women rights activists and civil society members paid on Monday glowing tribute to human rights giant Asma Jahangir. She started off her journey as human rights lawyer and used to advocate her father in the court who was arrested over voicing dissent to the military rule.


- In a story February 12 about her death, The Associated Press misspelled the name of Asma Jahangir as Jehangir. She was twice elected as President of Supreme Court Bar Association from October, 2008 to October 2010. The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation is deeply saddened by this loss to the fight for justice, freedom and equality for minorities and indigenous people in Pakistan.

Jahangir is survived by her businessman husband, Tahir Jahangir, a son and two daughters.

Known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit for human rights, Asma was the first woman to serve as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. Several years ago, she briefly sent her family out of the country following threats from militant groups. He said she personally made strenuous efforts for supremacy of the constitution. In 2016 she was appointed United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Iran. Yet nothing stopped her from speaking out against injustice, whether it was at protest marches on the streets, interviews on television, or speeches at universities overseas. Both CCA and the WCC were partners of the Commission in their human rights advocacy on rights of religious minorities and democratisation in Pakistan. During Zia ul Haq's dictatorship she got involved in democracy activism by participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, which sought to bring back democracy and end Zia's military dictatorship. Asma stood shoulder to shoulder with us in our opposition to the draconian cyber crime bill, and having her as an ally lifted our spirits and bolstered our cause.

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