Asma Jahangir was a senior and prominent human rights lawyer, social activist and a pro democracy activist of Pakistan. It won’t be wrong to say that she was an institution and a beacon of hope for Pakistanis who hope for a peaceful, progressive and secular Pakistan as she devoted her whole life for speaking up for the rights of underprivileged and always challenged the status quo. Though she was criticized by right wing organizations for some of her religious views and was also labelled a ‘Traitor’ and RAW agent for her pro Indian stance. For masses, Asma was a beacon of hope in the patriarchal Pakistani society who stood for women empowerment.
Age, Early Life and Education of Asma Jahangir
Asma Jahangir’s academics speaks for itself as she went to some of the country’s most prestigious institutions. Born in Lahore on the 27th of January 1952, Asma completed her schooling from the distinguished Convent of Jesus and Mary and later she went to Kinnaird College and did her Bachelor’s. After that Asma went on to did her LLB from Punjab University Lahore and in 1980 she joined Lahore High court and Supreme Court of Pakistan two years later.
Asma Jahangir’s Activism, Struggle and Achievements
Acclaimed by many as Pakistan’s Iron Lady, Asma’s Pro democracy struggle started in 1983 when the military dictatorship of Zia ul Haq was at its peak. After participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy in the same year, Asma Jahangir was imprisoned by the then dictator but even that couldn’t silence her.
Asma Jahangir was considered as the focal point of the successful 2007’s Lawyers Movement against another military dictator, Pervez Musharraf. Her whole life, Asma stressed on peace between India and Pakistan as she openly used to condemn nation’s military strategies on national and international forums.
Some Achievements of Asma Jahangir
Success wasn’t shy of Asma Jahangir at any stage of her life. After receiving the prestigious ‘Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders’ and ‘Ramon Magsaysay Award’ in 1995, she later received the 2010 Freedom Award from the International Rescue Committee. It is pertinent here to mention that Asma Jahangir was nominated for the highly acclaimed and prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Award.
Not just internationally but Nationally, Asma Jahangir was recognized for her efforts as she was bestowed with Hilal-e-Imtiaz and later Sitar-e-Imtiaz in 2010, the highest civilian award in Pakistan.
It’ll be right to say that Asma Jahangir had activism and politics in her roots as her father Malik Ghulam Jilani was also a politician and was also put in jail and house arrests by opposing military dictatorships as well as corrupt politicians. Her mother, a well educated woman was a successful entrepreneur as she started her own clothing business.
She is survived by three children, two daughters and one son. One of her daughter Munizae Jahangir is a journalist while the other one Sulema Jahangir is also a successful lawyer. Her sister Hina Jilani is also a prominent Human Rights Activist and a lawyer.
Asma Jahangir’s Cause of Death and Funeral
On the afternoon of 11th February 2018, news of her death started circulating in the media as the night prior to her death, she was admitted at Hameed Latif Hospital in Lahore after some chest pain. The cause of her death was a fatal heart attack. Her funeral will take place at Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday. We will keep you updated if there is any change in the schedule of her funeral.
Numerous national and International personalities sent condolences messages on her death.
Devastated to learn of my oldest friend Asma Jehangir’s passing. Can’t believe it – esp being outside Pak at the moment. She was a friend for all times; we respected each other for what we were. In her loss we have lost a wonderful, caring & courageous human being. In total shock
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) February 11, 2018
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
Deeply saddened by the news of sudden demise of renowned lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir sahiba. Pakistan has lost a passionate champion of human rights and a staunch supporter of democracy. May her soul rest in peace!
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) February 11, 2018
Sorry to hear about asma jahangir passing away. I disagreed with many of her political positions but respected the fact that she clearly stood up for what she believed in
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) February 11, 2018
— Bakhtawar B-Zardari (@BakhtawarBZ) February 11, 2018
An extraordinary woman who fought for ordinary people. Asmaji had the audacity and the courage to fight for a fairer world. Thank you for touching our lives. 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/wML94XmtcI
— Mahesh Bhatt (@MaheshNBhatt) February 11, 2018
Asma Jahangir: so strong her resolve, so unflinching in overwhelming adversity, that even today in her death she continues to expose the pettiness of those who do harm in the name of championing the greater good.
inna lillahi wa inallah-e-raji’oon#AsmaJahangir
— Fasi Zaka (@fasi_zaka) February 11, 2018
Some Pictures of Asma Jahangir