Pakistani rights, democracy activist Asma Jahangir dead

Few Pakistani rights activists have achieved the credibility of JahangirMore
Few Pakistani rights activists have achieved the credibility of JahangirMore
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12 February, 2018

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif offering his condolence said, "Deeply saddened by the news of sudden demise of renowned lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir sahiba".

Known for her bravery and persistence, she had fought for almost four decades in Pakistan's human rights war, defending the rights of women, children, and religious minorities.

She was also known as the voice of marginalised sections of the Pakistani society.

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.

Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai said on Twitter she was "heartbroken" at the death of the "savior of democracy and human rights", especially as the pair had just met in Britain a week ago.

Her daughters were kidnapped and assaulted in 2008.

She co-chaired the South Asia Forum for Human Rights and was the vice president of International Federation for Human Rights. She was also the United Nations Rapporteur for Human Rights. "Her spirit will live as long as that voice in our head keeps telling us what is not right, what must not be tolerated, why not to give in or give up".

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Her critics, though, accused her of being an agent of Pakistan's rival India.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi expressed grief at Jahangir's death, praising her contribution to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding human rights. A state of emergency was declared, and she was among key protest leaders placed under house arrest.

She was again put under house arrest in November 2007 after the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan.

One widely shared tweet came from Malala Yousafzai, 20, the Pakistani activist for girls' education who was almost assassinated by Taliban militants as a teenager.

In Pakistan, she was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, the second and third highest civilian honours. She was also awarded a UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights and an Officer de la Légion d'honneur by France.

She is survived by two daughters and a son.

Nobel prize victor Malala Yousafzai remarked: "Heartbroken that we lost Asma Jahangir - a saviour of democracy and human rights". In 2012 she claimed her life was in danger from the feared Inter Services Intelligence spy agency.


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