Eminent lawyer, rights activist Asma Jahangir passes away

Asma Jahangir

"Then prisoners' rights became an issue", she said.

Pakistan lost one of the greatest and most respected human rights icon as Asma Jahangir died on Sunday.

Her family told that she suffered cardiac arrest and died soon after being shifted to a hospital. Her other daughter, Salima, lives in London.

Few Pakistani rights activists have achieved the credibility of Jahangir.

There is still awful violence against women, discrimination against minorities and near-slavery for bonded labourers, Jahangir told AFP during an interview in 2014, but human rights have made greater strides in Pakistan than may be apparent. He said late Asma Jahangir always challenged the dictatorship, fought against human rights violation and spoke truth without any hesitation. "A lioness. You don't get to claim her for your own gender".

Her first foray into politics was in 1969, when she participated in a women's march to the residence of the governor of Punjab and clashed with the police. She was jailed several times during 70s, 80s and 90s.

She was imprisoned in 1983 and put under house arrest in 2007. In the process, she recounted, security agents began to strip off her clothes.

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She worked closely with her sister Hina Jilani on many of her endeavours. "This was just to humiliate, this was simply just to humiliate me". The ruling was eventually overturned, but at one point Ms. Jehangir was arrested. She was courageous, fearless, invincible. She championed the rights of religious minorities - especially those who were charged under the country's blasphemy laws - and women and men killed in the name of honour.

"She was never daunted by the attacks that came her way".

She was also suffering from cancer and remained under treatment for years. She was also appointed as United Nations rapporteur in the region during the 1990s.

Bar associations across Pakistan said they will observe three days of mourning and not partake in court proceedings.

One widely shared tweet came from Malala Yousafzai, 20, the Pakistani activist for girls' education who was almost assassinated by Taliban militants as a teenager. Condolences poured in after her demise with people paying tribute to her services for democracy and efforts in the judiciary movement.

She co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in 1987. She graduated from Lahore's Kinnaird College for Women and in 1978 received a law degree at Punjab University, also in Lahore. She gained global acclaim for being the voice of conscience in a country where liberal, secular voices have been continuously under threat.

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