Condolences Pour in for Asma Jehangir’s Sudden Demise

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There has been an outpouring of disbelief and grief across Pakistan as lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir passed away in Lahore on Sunday after a sudden cardiac arrest. She was 66.

A role model for generations to come, Asma Jahangir will always be remembered for upholding justice in all of the causes she associated with; whether it was women’s rights, rape or sexual abuse, violence against women, religious persecution, political oppression or the draconian laws of the state. She was a fearless lawyer, a champion for the underprivileged – very often she worked for them pro bono.

Born in Lahore on January 27, 1952, to Malik Ghulam Jilani and Sabiha Jilani, Jahangir’s activisim was deeply inspired by her home environment and she began young in life – as a young student at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Lahore she rallied for school elections for head girl, rather than succumb to the years-old tradition of the head girl being selected by the nuns.  Asma Jahangir trained as a lawyer and worked at the Supreme Court of Pakistan from the age of 30 – she was President of the Supreme Court Bar Association for many years. She was co-founder of the Human Rights’ Commission of Pakistan, the Women’s Action Forum (WAF), and of the first free legal aid centre in Pakistan.

Asma Jahangir leaves behind her husband, businessman Tahir Jahangir, two daughters Munizae Jahangir and Sulema Jahangir and son Jilani Jahangir. Her sister, lawyer Hina Jilani and herself worked closely for a major part of their lives on the same projects and causes.

After her tragic demise, social and political celebrities and influencers across industries expressed their sentiments on losing this upholder of democracy and human rights. Malala Yousafzai, who met her most recently at Oxford University, where Ms Jahangir spoke to the Oxford Union, called her a ‘saviour of democracy and human rights.’ Social Media was full of praise for this fearless champion; we have curated some of these moving tributes below.

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