Pakistan's iron lady Asma Jehangir passes away

Pakistan's iron lady Asma Jehangir passes away

Pakistan's iron lady Asma Jehangir passes away

United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran Asma Jahangir, died today of cardiac arrest.

Born on January 27, 1952 in Lahore, Jahangir studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary before receiving her B.A from Kinnaird and LLB from the Punjab University in 1978.

She has served as chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and was widely respected for her outspoken criticism of the country's militant and extreme Islamist groups and unparalleled record as rights activist.

She joined core of lawyers of Supreme Court in 1982 and since then she devoted her life for human rights and supremacy of Constitution. She was also appointed as UN Rapporteur in the region during the 1990s.

In the early '80s, she was imprisoned for partaking in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy during the military regime of Zia ul Haq. Asma Jahangir lived, practiced till her last breath.

In addition to her sister, survivors include her husband, Tahir Jehangir of Lahore; two daughters and a son.

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

She was a vocal advocate for peace between Pakistan and India.

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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.

Jahangir is hailed as a South Asian feminist icon for her endless efforts towards women's liberation, and the abolishment of misogynistic laws and practices.

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Akhtar called Asma "undoubtedly the bravest and the most resilient fighter for human rights".

Jahangir, who played an instrumental role in lawyers' movement for the independence of judiciary, died from cardiac arrest today in Punjab's provincial capital at the age of 66.

According to media reports, she was also suffering from cancer and remained under treatment for years.

Journalist Naila Inayat, termed her death "the end to an era" while Mehreen Zahra-Malik, another journalist, tweeted: "A male friend once asked: why is Asma Jahangir always so angry?"

"Her demise is a big loss for the marginalised communities in Pakistan, a loss for the secular people of Pakistan, and a loss for the voice of reason".

In 2014 she received France's highest civilian award and Sweden's Right Livelihood Award, for her decades of rights work.

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