Activists vow to keep Asma Jahangir's mission alive


Prominent lawyer and human rights icon Asma Jahangir passed away on Sunday after suffering a stroke.

The United Nations appointed her the special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, and her reports gave a voice to the Iranian people, many who were being treated inhumanely by their government. In her capacity as a human rights lawyer she fought many cases on behalf of those accused of blasphemy, women seeking divorce from risky marriages and other important cases.

Sindh Human Rights Commission Chairperson Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi recalled the challenges of the structural bars made through the Hudood Ordinance in Zia's era that went against the principles of justice and discriminated on the basis of law and perception that women were inferior to men.

Shahi Syed also expressed grief over the demise of Asma death and said her services for human rights, strengthening of democracy and rule of law in the country would be remembered forever.

"She leaves behind a powerful legacy that we must all honour by giving voice to those who are not being heard". Many women also helped carry Jahangir's body to her farmhouse, where she was later buried.

As a lawyer in Pakistan, Ms. Jahangir was the first woman admitted to the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Council and was the first female President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.

Addressing the NCHR employees gathered here to offer Fateha for the departed soul, he praised valiant struggle of the deceased for the rights of weak, vulnerable and the marginalized people of the society.

She is survived by her husband, two daughters and a son. "I would like permission to fly the national flag at half-mast on February 13, 2018 (the day of her funeral)". "She truly embodied the universality of our struggle", RSF deputy director-general Antoine Bernard said.

Jahangir faced death threats for her criticism of Pakistan's military, intelligence and armed groups, including a plot by the country's Inter-Services Intelligence. "She did this despite great risk to her own personal safety".

Following the news, human rights organizations and Pakistani officials expressed their condolences.

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. Such courage comes at a high price in a country like Pakistan, where religious extremism is increasingly infiltrating politics and daily lives of people.