Lahore: Renowned senior lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir passed away in Lahore on Sunday. She is survived by a son and two daughters.
Known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit for human rights — as well as for remaining undaunted in the face of extreme pressure and opposition — Jahangir will be remembered as a champion for the disenfranchised and for her services towards building a democratic and more inclusive Pakistan.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. She later went on to become the first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
She became a pro-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 received the 2014 Right Livelihood Award and the 2010 Freedom Award.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 several awards, including a Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2010 and a Sitara-i-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.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, and other Supreme Court judges expressed deep sorrow and grief on her demise in a statement. They extended their heartfelt condolences and sincere sympathies to members of the grieved family while praising her services for the independence of the judiciary, rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.
“She was an outspoken and courageous lady, and had risen to prominence by sheer dint of hard work, diligence and commitment to the legal profession,” the judges of the apex court said. Condolences and tributes also poured in on Twitter as Pakistanis reacted to the shock of Jahangir’s sudden demise.