World Pakistani human rights champion Asma Jahangir dies

16:17  11 february  2018
16:17  11 february  2018 Source:   reuters.com

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Different people called her different things: a fighter who spoke truth to power, a traitor, a champion of human rights , anti- Pakistan , a national icon Asma Jahangir , the first and so far the only female president of Pakistan ’s Supreme Court Bar Association and a leading human rights attorney, died

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani human rights campaigner Asma Jahangir , who faced death threats by fighting for unpopular causes and was jailed in the 1980s for her pro-democracy work during military rule, died on Sunday in Lahore.

Asma Jahangir wearing glasses: FILE PHOTO - Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairwoman, Asma Jahangir, speaks during a news conference in Islamabad© REUTERS/Mian Khursheed/File Photo FILE PHOTO - Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) chairwoman, Asma Jahangir, speaks during a news conference in Islamabad

Pakistani human rights campaigner Asma Jahangir, who faced death threats by fighting for unpopular causes and was jailed in the 1980s for her pro-democracy work during military rule, died on Sunday in Lahore. She was 66.

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Accolades for the fiery activist, whose name was virtually synonymous with human rights in Pakistan, poured in from political and legal figures.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi lauded her "immense contributions towards upholding rule of law, democracy and safeguarding human rights".

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Prominent Pakistani human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir has died at the age of 66. She reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital, where she later died . The pro-democracy activist championed women's rights throughout her career.

The well known human rights lawyer and activist died suddenly on Sunday after suffering a cardiac arrest, he family confirmed. Condolences poured in on Sunday afternoon after the sudden death of leading Pakistan human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir earlier in the day.

Jahangir was a U.N. special rapporteur for freedom of religion from 2004 to 2010, and later was a rapporteur for human rights in Iran.

In Pakistan, she campaigned tirelessly for democracy and free speech, frequently receiving death threats for taking up causes such as criticizing the strict blasphemy laws of the conservative Muslim-majority country.

A lawyer by background, she was a founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Fearless in the face of authority, she was imprisoned in 1983 for her work with the Movement to Restore Democracy during of General Zia ul-Haq's military rule.

She was also placed under house arrest in 2007 for her part in a lawyers' protest movement that helped lead to military leader Pervez Musharraf stepping down from power.

In recent years, she was outspoken over the misuse of blasphemy laws that carry a mandatory death sentence for insulting Islam's prophet.

She also represented several civil society organizations that were threatened with shutdown as well as families of several "disappeared" activists over the past few years.

Jahangir's daughter Munizae said her mother died after suffering a heart attack on Sunday.

(Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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