United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran Asma Jahangir passes away

Pakistan       by Sarfraz Ali | Published

Pakistan by Sarfraz Ali | Published

Condolences poured in on Sunday afternoon after the sudden death of leading Pakistan human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir earlier in the day. She was admitted to a private hospital last night over cardiac problem, where she breathed her last.

She also remained the special rapporteur of the UN Commission on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions from 1998-2004 and was the special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief of the UN Commission on Human Rights since 2004.

While condolences poured in from all sections, there was a section on people who condemned her even after she passed away.

Awami National National Party Central President Asfandyar Wali Khan and General Secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain on Sunday expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of renowned lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir.

Asma Jahangir was among the senior lawyers in Pakistan and she co-founded the Human Rights of Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and served as its chairperson.

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

In 1983, her pro-democracy struggle against dictator Zia ul Haq landed her in jail.

There is still bad violence against women, discrimination against minorities and near-slavery for bonded labourers, Jahangir told AFP during an interview in 2014, but human rights have made greater strides in Pakistan than may be apparent.

She refused to leave the country despite the threats, however, and told the British newspaper the Telegraph that she would not follow other activists out of the country.

She was also an outspoken critic of the powerful military establishment, including during her stint as the first-ever female leader of Pakistan's top bar association. She championed the rights of religious minorities - especially those who were charged under the country's blasphemy laws - and women and men killed in the name of honour. I can not believe she is no more among us.

She was a wise and courageous warrior of human rights who included in her report the complaints of families regarding the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran.

"South Asia has lost an ardent advocate of women's rights and democracy by the death of Asma Jahangir".

"Asma Jahangir was a voice of the oppressed and an icon of courage and valour", said Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter and political heir of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The firebrand human rights activist graduated from Kinnaird College and later pursued an LLB from Punjab University.

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