Champion of justice Asma Jahangir leaves legacy of courage

Champion of justice Asma Jahangir leaves legacy of courage

Champion of justice Asma Jahangir leaves legacy of courage

Jahangir suffered a heart attack late on Saturday night and was rushed to hospital where she died early on Sunday, her daughter Munizae said.

Maulana Haider Farooq Maududi led the funeral prayers.

In addition to this, the Sindh government announced a day of mourning for the human rights activist and lawyer and sought permission to fly the national flag at half-mast during her funeral today (Tuesday).

The funeral prayers were held under high security at the stadium - a venue for worldwide cricket matches- where police camera drones flew overhead.

The deceased lawyer will be laid to rest in her family's farmhouse on Bedian Road, Lahore.

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"Asma Jahangir was a staunch defender of the rights of the Baha'is in Iran from the time that she was Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief", said Diane Ala'i, Representative of the BIC United Nations Office in Geneva.

After receiving her BA in law at Kinnaird College, Lahore, and her Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Punjab University (1978), Asma was called to the Lahore high court (1980).

She started her career as an advocate at a high court. She went on to become the first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

In a condolence message to Asma's family, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research Executive Director Karamat Ali and its staff expressed their profound sorrow and grief.

Her work was not just confined to Pakistan, but also overseas.

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In 1987, she co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and became its Secretary General until 1993 when she was elevated as commissions chairperson.

She is widely known for playing a prominent role in the Lawyers' Movement and served as the trustee at the International Crisis Group. Although she was not given permission to pursue her mandate within the country, she collected evidence of human rights violations and documented these for her submission to the General Assembly. Her vehicle was smashed as she attempted to leave the court.

Asma has received several awards including the 2014 Right Livelihood Award, 2010 Freedom Award, Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2010 and Sitara-e-Imtiaz. She was also the co-chair of South Asians for Human Rights.

'Principled and courageous, Asma's willingness and determination to confront evil, defend the vulnerable, and insist on Pakistan living up to the ideals of its democratic, constitutional and secular foundations made her truly iconic, thepaper wrote. In 2012 she claimed her life was in danger from the feared Inter Services Intelligence spy agency. Advancement of human rights and prospects of peace between India and Pakistan are integrally interdependent.

The NA "affirms that she had fiercely and fearlessly defended the rights of the voiceless, the poor, the downtrodden, the dispossessed and spoken up for prisoners, for victims of violence, for those facing discrimination on the basis of gender, or in the name of religion", says the resolution.

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