Prominent Pak activist Asma Jahangir passes away

Few Pakistani rights activists have achieved the credibility of JahangirMore

Born in 1952, in Lahore, she completed her bachelor's degree from Punjab University and went to the U.S., Canada and Switzerland to pursue her higher legal study.

She was a standout voice for Pakistan's marginalised people.

Jehangir also served as president of the Supreme Court's Bar Association and was a United Nations rapporteur on human rights and extrajudicial killings.

Her early activism was forged as a young woman during the repressive military rule of Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s, when she was arrested and imprisoned for protesting against Zia's harsh "Islamization" policies and curtailment of women's rights.

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.

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

PTI leader Asad Umar said: "Sorry to hear about asma jahangir passing away".

She is widely known for playing a prominent role in the Lawyers' Movement and served as the trustee at the International Crisis Group. She defended minority Christians charged with blasphemy, an offense that under Pakistan's controversial law carries the death penalty.

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

Jahangir's pro-democracy struggle as a lawyer and activist had made her a staunch critic of Pakistan's military, intelligence agencies and armed groups.

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Moreover, she was also put under house-arrest in 2007 for actively participating in the Lawyers' Movement during Musharraf's regime.

According to initial reports, Jahangir was shifted to a hospital after she complained of chest pain where she breathed her last.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan had become poorer with her demise. She received the 2014 Right Livelihood Award and the 2010 Freedom Award. Police surrounded her office at the human rights commission, arrested her with other activists, and hustled them into vans as a crowd watched.

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. She was courageous, fearless, invincible.

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