Asma Jahangir, a profound Pakistani lawyer and human rights activist passed away today, Sunday, on 11th February, due to cardiac attack in Lahore at the age of 66. After the news broke out of her demise condolences started pouring in from the innumerable lawyers, rights activists, and politicians, who termed it as a “great loss” for Pakistan. The prodigy was known for her perseverance and determined persistence on advocating on women rights issues and discrimination against minorities. She was the first woman to serve as a president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.
With a radical attitude, Asma was a cynic of Pakistan’s military, intelligence, and armed groups. She also braved death threats, imprisonment, floggings as she worked strenuously for human rights cases. She was arrested in 2007 by the Pakistani government of then military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani politician and a retired four-star Army general who was the tenth President of Pakistan from 2001 until his resignation to avoid impeachment, in 2008. Born in January 1952 in Lahore, she obtained LLB degree from the Punjab University in 1978 and started her career as an advocate at high and supreme courts. Her heretic attitude was noted well as she tackled cases which were minority centric, apart from women rights issues she worked on children, honor killings and blasphemy laws. In the 1980s, Asma Jahangir became a democracy activist and was convicted in 1983 for participating in Movement for the Restoration of Democracy against the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq.
Pakistan’s politics and economy has been in tatters. Recently, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted on corruption charges, the country also faced protests in the past in which the protesters believed that the law minister had amended the declaration of faith which confirmed belief in the finality of Prophethood of Prophet Muhammad in the Election Act of 2017. The protest caused injuries to many and created an impasse in the country. According to a report published in The Dawn, 60 million Pakistanis are living below the poverty line, which is a challenge for the ruling government. Amid such realities, the country has lost a prominent lawyer and human rights activist who worked for the downtrodden and needy. Her supporters and colleagues took it to social media to offer their condolences.