Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s renowned human rights lawyer, social activist and an outspoken critic of the country’s powerful military establishment, died here today of cardiac arrest, her daughter said.
Known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit for human rights, Asma, 66, was the first woman to serve as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.
“Asma suffered heart attack today morning and she was rushed to Hameed Latif Hospital Lahore where she breathed her last. Doctors tried to save her life but couldn’t,” said senior lawyer Adeel Raja.
As the news of her death broke, condolences started pouring in from lawyers, rights activists and politicians.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan condoled the death of Asma and termed it an “unbearable loss” for the country.
“Deeply saddened by the news of sudden demise of renowned lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir sahiba. Pakistan has lost a passionate champion of human rights and a staunch supporter of democracy. May her soul rest in peace!,” Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said in a tweet.
“Democracy, human rights and resistance against oppression lost a great soldier- Asma Jehangir. It’s everyone’s loss. What a sad day!,” Maryan Nawaz, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, tweeted.
Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Ali Ahmad Kurd said Asma was the “champion” human rights activist.
“Asma Jahangir was an icon of our times – fearless defender of human rights. She inspired so many and left a rich legacy. Pakistan is a poorer place without her,” said noted Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi.
Asma is survived by two daughters and a son. Her daughter Muneezay is a TV anchor.
Born in January 1952 in Lahore, Asma co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She has also been Supreme Court Bar Association president.