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Asma Jahangir, iconic Pakistani human rights activist, dies at 66

Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s leading liberal voice and renowned human rights activist, has died Sunday. Ms. Jahangir died suddenly after suffering cardiac arrest in the southeastern city of Lahore, her hometown. She was 66.

Ms. Jahangir was known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit for human rights. She was the first woman to serve as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.

“I am devastated at the loss of my mother Asma Jahangir. We shall be announcing the date of funeral soon. We are waiting for our relatives to return to Lahore,” her daughter Munizae Jahangir said in a tweet.

“Asma suffered heart attack today morning and she was rushed to Hameed Latif Hospital Lahore where she breathed her last. Doctors tried to save her life but couldn’t,” said senior lawyer Adeel Raja.

Asma’s funeral will be held on February 13, reported Geo News, quoting family sources.

Bar associations across Pakistan said they will observe three days of mourning and not partake in court proceedings. As the news of her death broke, condolences started pouring in from lawyers, rights activists, and politicians.

President Mamnoon Hussain, in a condolence message, expressed grief over Asma’s death, saying she rendered “unprecedented” services for the rule of law.

“Today the country has been deprived of a courageous and disciplined person, who was the voice of the voiceless,” local media quoted Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s statement.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres has conveyed his heartfelt condolences to Asma Jehangir’s family, friends and colleagues, including in the United Nations and civil society within which she was such a leader before her death.

Mr. Guterres, in a message, the Secretary-General said: “we have lost a human rights giant”. “News of the death of Asma Jahangir today is echoing within her native Pakistan and across the world. She was a tireless advocate for inalienable rights of all people and for equality, whether in her capacity as a Pakistani lawyer in the domestic justice system, as a global civil society activist, or as a Special Rapporteur” he said.


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