Lahore, Feb 11: Renowned Pakistani human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir passed away here on Sunday. She was 66.
According to Geo TV, the former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association was shifted to a private hospital on Saturday night after suffering a cardiac arrest.
President Mamnoon Hussain, Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar along with other politicians, lawyers and journalists have expressed grief over Jahangir’s death.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif tweeted: “Pakistan has lost a passionate champion of human rights and a staunch supporter of democracy…”
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.
In 1987 she co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and became its Secretary General until 1993 when she was elevated as the commission’s chairperson, reports The News International.
Jahangir was also the co-chair of South Asians for Human Rights. She was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions and later as the UN Rapporteur of Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The activist was put under house arrest and later imprisoned in 1983 for participating in the movement for the restoration of political and fundamental rights during the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq.
She was again put under house arrest in November 2007 after the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan.
Jahangir has represented several clients who were denied their fundamental rights and defended cases of minorities, women and children in prisons.
She penned two books: “Divine Sanction? The Hadood Ordinance” (1988) and “Children of a Lesser God: Child Prisoners of Pakistan” (1992).
Jahangir received several national awards, including the Sitara-I-Imtiaz in 1995.
In recognition of her services in the field of human rights, Jahangir was awarded the American Bar Association International Human Rights Award in 1992, the Martin Ennals Award and the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1995.