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12 February 2018, 01:23 | Kara Nash
Who is Asma Jahangir ?
ISLAMABAD-Asma Jahangir, a leading Pakistani rights activist, fearless critic of the military's interference into politics and a staunch defender of the rule of law, died Sunday in Lahore. She was admitted to a private hospital last night over cardiac problem, where she breathed her last.
"Unfortunately we have lost her", Hina Jilani, also a prominent rights activist and lawyer, told AFP.
Bakhtawar Zardari, the daughter of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto took to the micro-blogging site, "Shocked to hear @Asma_Jahangir passed away". She was also the first female president of Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association and had won several awards including the Unesco/Bilbao prize for the promotion of a culture of human rights and the French Legion of Honour.
She was 66 and is survived by a son and two daughters.
In 2007, she was placed under house arrest for participating in a movement to restore judges removed by then military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf.
She was imprisoned in 1983 for agitating against military dictator General Ziaul Haq's regime.
Soon, she was taking on controversial legal cases that thrust her into the public eye but also involved violence, prison and death threats.
In an interview with DW following her win, Jagangir described the Swedish award as recognition of all rights activists in Pakistan who work under very hard circumstances. She was attacked for advocating peace with India, and was often accused of being an Indian agent or a traitor.
A secular-minded Muslim, Ms. Jehangir defended the rights of Christians and other minorities throughout her career, denouncing the abuse of blasphemy laws against them.
Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke about Asma's work for women and stance against dictators, saying it would be hard to fill the void left by her death. She was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions and later as the UN Rapporteur of Freedom of Religion or Belief.
She was born in Lahore in politically active family in 1952.
Raza Ahmad Rumi of the Pakistan Daily Times called her a hero.
He said the death of Asma Jahangir was sad news for the whole nation that had made the country bereft of a bold and principled personality. He said that the death of Asma Jahangir is an irreplaceable loss for democratic forces and those who raise their voices for human rights. Her courage to speak truth to power was unprecedented and exemplary.
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