Death of Pakistani Human Rights and Democracy Advocate Asma Jahangir


Ms. Jahangir was the current UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, having assumed the position on 1 November 2016. She later went on to become the first woman to serve as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).

"Asma Jahangir was a towering figure in the defence of human rights, including press freedom and free speech", said Iqbal Khattak, RSF's representative in Pakistan.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has paid tribute to Pakistan's "human rights giant" Asma Jahangir following her death by cardiac arrest over the weekend, praising her courage in campaigns for justice and equality for all. "She truly embodied the universality of our struggle", RSF Deputy Director-General Antoine Bernard said.

Besides Jahangir's colleagues and comrades from the various institutions she helped set up, representatives of various political parties, human rights organisations, and state institutions also attended the funeral.

Another English language daily, The News wrote that she "spoke out bravely and with enormous courage for all the oppressed people of the country, essentially acting as the conscience of Pakistan". "She stood her ground against Islamic militants", Gannon wrote in an email on her way to the 66-year-old activist's funeral in Lahore.

Born in 1952, studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary before receiving her B.A degree from Kinnaird College and LLB from the Punjab University in 1978.

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 was called to the Lahore High Court in 1980 and to the Supreme Court in 1982.

She was jailed in 1983 for taking part in a movement advocating for fundamental human rights during the military regime and arrested in 2007 by the government of then military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

Late Asma Jahangir defended cases of minorities, women and children in prisons. She was recipient of several national awards, including Sitara-I-Imtiaz in 1995.