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12 February 2018, 01:22 | Myrtle Vega
Asma Jahangir passes away in Lahore
Noted human rights lawyer and social activist Asma Jahangir has on Sunday passed away at the age of 66, Dunya News reported. She was admitted to a private hospital last night over cardiac problem, where she breathed her last.
Bakhtawar Zardari, the daughter of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto took to the micro-blogging site, "Shocked to hear @Asma_Jahangir passed away. Despite our differences I always respected her for her fight for human rights and for standing up for her convictions", said Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party Imran Khan.
She headed the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and remained the Supreme Court Bar Association chairperson. While she received several national awards, including the Sitara-I-Imtiaz in 1995, Jahangir was again put under house arrest in November 2007 after President Pervez Musharraf imposed Emergency.
She became a pro-democracy activist and was jailed in 1983 for participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy, which agitated against military dictator Ziaul Haq's regime.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif tweeted: "Pakistan has lost a passionate champion of human rights and a staunch supporter of democracy..."
She was repeatedly threatened by the country's militant religious right, whom she criticized loudly and often. May her soul rest in peace.
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A secular-minded Muslim, Ms. Jehangir defended the rights of Christians and other minorities throughout her career, denouncing the abuse of blasphemy laws against them. "A lioness. You don't get to claim her for your own gender".
She said Pakistan should first take up the issue of capital punishment through unfair trials here and of those Pakistanis who were being consistently executed in Saudi Arabia and then show disproportionately high passion for the politicians of Bangladesh.
Jahangir served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion from August 2004 to July 2010, including serving on the U.N. panel for inquiry into Sri Lankan human rights violations and on a fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements. She remained house arrest in 2007 for nine days.
Born in January 1952 in Lahore, Asma co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Her sister, Jilani, told Pakistan's Geo News TV that her death was "not just the family's loss, but also of those who are voiceless and whose voices she raised".
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