UNITED NATIONS: United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres has conveyed his heartfelt condolences to Asma Jahangir’s family, friends and colleagues, including in the United Nations and civil society within which she was such a leader over her death.
In a message, the Secretary-General said “we have lost a human rights giant. News of the death of Asma Jahangir today is echoing within her native Pakistan and across the world. She was a tireless advocate for inalienable rights of all people and for equality, whether in her capacity as a Pakistani lawyer in the domestic justice system, as a global civil society activist, or as a Special Rapporteur” he said.
Mr Antonio Guterres said Asma was brilliant, deeply principled, courageous and kind.
Eminent lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir passed away on Sunday in Lahore. She was 66.
Her spokesperson said Jahangir was taken to a private hospital on Ferozepur Road after suffering a cardiac arrest today where she breathed her last. Jahangir was born in Lahore in January 1952.
She received a Bachelors’ degree from Kinnaird College and an LLB from Punjab University. She was called to the Lahore High Court in 1980 and to the Supreme Court in 1982 and later went on to become the first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
She became a 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.
She was also active in the 2007 Lawyers’ Movement, for which she was put under house arrest. She co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Women’s Action Forum.
She received Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2010 and a Sitara-e-Imtiaz. She was also awarded a UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights and an Officier de la Légion d’honneur by France.
She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She worked closely with her sister Hina Jilani on many of her endeavours.
She was known for taking up court cases of victimised and marginalised sections of society, as well as speaking against human rights violations.
An author and a staunch activist for democracy, Jahangir received several accolades for her work on human rights. Jahangir also remained the special rapporteur on human rights for the United Nations.