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Asma Jahangir dies at 66

12 February 2018

Asma Jehangir, one of Pakistan's most prominent right activists and lawyers, died on Sunday of a heart attack in the eastern city of Lahore at the age of 66, her daughter said.

"The best tribute to her is to continue her fight for human rights and democracy", tweeted Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, adding she had met Jahangir just last week in Oxford.

She was also known as the voice of marginalised sections of the Pakistani society.

She was among the senior advocates in Pakistan and she co-founded Human Rights of Commission of Pakistan. She was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions and later as the UN Rapporteur of Freedom of Religion or Belief.

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.

Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai said on Twitter she was "heartbroken" at the death of the "savior of democracy and human rights", especially as the pair had just met in Britain a week ago. As a daughter, mother and legal expert, she had left irremovable imprints on the judicial and political history of Pakistan, he remarked.

She was critical of the Supreme Court for "judicial activism" and also criticised the apex court for disqualifying Nawaz Sharif from the office of prime minister in July previous year.


Journalist Naila Inayat, termed her death "the end to an era" while Mehreen Zahra-Malik, another journalist, tweeted: "A male friend once asked: why is Asma Jahangir always so angry?"

She was on Time magazine's list of 100 most influential women.

In a condolence message, President Mamnoon Hussain expressed grief over Asma's death, saying she rendered "unprecedented" services for the rule of law.

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. "It's everyone's loss. What a sad day!" she said. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and is now studying at Oxford.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan had become poorer with her demise.

"She was courageous and dedicated rights and social activist and above all the voice of the voiceless", said he.

Asma Jahangir dies at 66