Senior lawyer and social activist Asma Jahangir passes away

Randolph Lopez
February 12, 2018

Tributes have been paid to the prominent Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir after her death on Sunday in Lahore.

To be a successful activist lawyer, she once noted, one must "have an eye for what's hot, the right case, the right bench".

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. Her barbed, witty comments in hundreds of news conferences, TV interviews and more recent tweets delighted liberal fans and infuriated conservative critics.

She was also suffering from cancer and remained under treatment for years.

An active member of bar politics, she was the first female president of the Pakistan Supreme Court's Bar Association.

There is still awful 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.

After obtaining LLB degree from the Punjab University in 1978, she started her career as an advocate at high and Supreme courts.

More recently she spoke out against BBC Persian journalists being put on trial in Iran, as part of her role as United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

She was repeatedly threatened by the country's militant religious right, whom she criticized loudly and often.

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"When they were putting me in the police van, they assured that my photograph was taken while my back was bare", Ms. Jehangir said.

Jahangir secured a number of victories during her life, from winning freedom for bonded labourers from their "owners" through pioneering litigation, to a landmark court case that allowed women to marry of their own volition.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced, according to a statement by her daughter Munizae Jahangir, as the family waited for relatives to return to their hometown of Lahore.

A fierce defender of democracy, she often criticized Pakistan's military and intelligence.

Known for her struggle for protection of Pakistani Constitution, Asman Jhangir would be remembered for all times to come.

She was among the rare personalities participated in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) during Ziaul Haq's dictatorial regime and sent to Jail for her activism in 1983. "It's everyone's loss. What a sad day!" she said.

"Asma Jehangir's death is a loss of a strong voice for the marginalised and oppressed". She was most unwanted person by establishment of Pakistan during all marial Laws but she never compromised or bowed down against dictatorial rules.

She received several awards, including a Hilal-i-Imtiaz and a Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2010.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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