Asma Jahangir’s funeral to be held in Lahore today

Prominent lawyer and human rights icon Asma Jahangir’s funeral will be held at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore at 3pm today.

Jahangir, who co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and came to be known as a fearless voice of the marginalised sections of the society, passed away on Sunday after suffering a cardiac arrest. She was 66.

She was known for speaking against human rights violations and her courageous stand against dictatorships. She was also a vocal opponent of judicial overreach and would often confront the superior judiciary when it would extend its jurisdiction in her opinion.

Earlier today, Asma’s body was transported to her house in Gulberg from the hospital where it was placed in a morgue.

After Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah’s letter to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi requesting for a state funeral for the noted lawyer, various other dignitaries have also called for a state funeral in remembrance of her services. 

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, during an ongoing Senate session today, called for her burial with full state honours. 

PML-N leader Senator Pervaiz Rashid also demanded that her last rites be performed with full state honours. 

Condolences poured in from all over the country as well as abroad following Jahangir’s demise, as people paid tribute to her services for democracy and efforts in the movement to restore the judiciary.

Prime Minister Abbasi expressed grief at Jahangir’s death, praising her contribution to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding human rights.

President Mamnoon Hussain expressed grief over her death, saying she rendered unprecedented services for the rule of law.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar visited the residence of late Asma Jahangir to condole her demise with the bereaved family.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif called Jahangir a staunch supporter of democracy, posting a prayer for the deceased on Twitter.

PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz called Jahangir’s death a great loss for humanity.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan has become poorer with her demise. “People like Asma are anchors of a society,” he said.

A life of bravery

Asma Jahangir was known for taking up court cases of victimised and marginalised sections of society, as well as speaking against human rights violations and her courageous stand against the military rule of General Zia-ul-Haq.

Born in Lahore on January 27, 1952, Jahangir completed her bachelors of arts and law from Lahore and then went on to pursue higher legal studies from Switzerland, Canada and US.

She taught constitutional law at Quaid-e-Azam Law College, Lahore.

She also conducted consultancy on judicial reforms in Pakistan and Bangladesh for the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, and remained a member of the Commission of Enquiry for Women from 1994-1997.

From 1998-2000, Jahangir served as the special rapporteur of the UN Commission on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions and was the special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief of the UN Commission on Human Rights since 2004.

Jahangir was also an executive member at the International Crisis Group and chief economist advisory council member of World Bank since 2001.

She was also the founding member of Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan.

Jahangir received several awards and accolades during her life, including the 2014 Right Livelihood Award, 2010 Freedom Award, Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2010 and Sitara-e-Imtiaz, UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights in 2010 and Officier de la Légion d’honneur in 2014 – France’s highest award.


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