'Voice of the oppressed:' Asma Jahangir, rights activist, dies at 66

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Expressing his grief over the demise of renowned lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Sunday said the incident had silenced a fearless voice for the voiceless, helpless and the oppressed people. Her barbed, witty comments in hundreds of news conferences, TV interviews and more recent tweets delighted liberal fans and infuriated conservative critics.

She had also criticised Pakistan government for demonstrating a "disproportionately high passion" against the execution of two top war criminals in Bangladesh in November, 2015.

Born on January 27, 1952, into an affluent family in Lahore, Asma Jilani Jahangir studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, receiving her bachelor's degree from Kinnaird College in Lahore. 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.

A champion of human rights, Jehangir was unafraid to speak loudly against those attacking minority religions and women. In a lecture at Oxford University in 2017, she charged that "the military controls the country through the deep state", while "the politicians are playing at democracy, hanging onto the cliff with their claws".

Jahangir also served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights. In 2012 she claimed her life was in danger from the feared Inter Services Intelligence spy agency.

She braved death threats, beatings and imprisonment to win landmark human rights cases while standing up to dictators.

In the photo above, she is seen addressing a protest rally in 2009 against the public flogging of a veiled woman.




She won numerous national and worldwide awards for her struggle for the oppressed. He admired her struggle for the rule of law and stability of democracy in the country.

In the early '80s, she was imprisoned for partaking in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy during the military regime of Zia ul Haq.

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.

Daily Times Editor Raza Ahmad Rumi called her a "hero".

She leaves behind a husband, a son and two daughters.

"Asma Jahangir was a voice of the oppressed and an icon of courage and valour", said Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter and political heir of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. She was most unwanted person by establishment of Pakistan during all marial Laws but she never compromised or bowed down against dictatorial rules.

She received several awards, both national and worldwide, for her incalculable efforts for human rights everywhere.

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