Human rights activist Asma Jahangir dies at 66


She has served as chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and was widely respected for her outspoken criticism of the country's militant and extreme Islamist groups and unparalleled record as rights activist.

Asma Jahangir, the first and so far the only female president of Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association and a leading human rights attorney, died due to a cardiac arrest at the age of 66 Sunday in Lahore.

She died February 11 of a heart attack after being taken to a hospital in the Pakistani city of Lahore, her lifetime home, her family announced. Pakistan Peoples Party Co-chaiperson Asif Ali Zardari expressed shock over the lawyer's demise, saying she was not just a person but was an effective voice for human rights.

She was a persistent thorn in the side for totalitarian establishments, outspokenly calling out anti-democratic actions and pushing constantly for the right of the people to rule themselves.

Asma Jahangir was a very prominent Pakistani social activist espousing the cause of peace between India and Pakistan.

NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi have condoled the sad demise of prominent lawyer and renowned human rights icon Asma Jahangir.

Another tweet expressed how she was viewed as a safety blanket by many activists across the country.

She was born on January 1952. "Her spirit will live as long as that voice in our head keeps telling us what is not right, what must not be tolerated, why not to give in or give up".

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Asma was arrested in 2007 by the government of the then military dictator Pervez Musharraf, and in 2012 claimed her life was in danger from the country's top spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

Her family was threatened and her driver was beaten up in 1995 for her daring to defend a 14-year-old Salamat Masih who on the accusation of blasphemy.

Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai described her as a "savior of democracy and human rights". Her daughter Muneezay is a TV anchor.

Senate Chairperson Raza Rabbani said Jahangir spent her entire life working for the supremacy of the law.

Her early activism was forged as a young woman during the repressive military rule of Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s, when she was arrested and imprisoned for protesting against Zia's harsh "Islamization" policies and curtailment of women's rights.

Jehangir is survived by her businessman husband, Tahir Jehangir, a son and two daughters.

She received Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2010 and a Sitara-e-Imtiaz.

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