Pakistani human rights campaigner Asma Jahangir, who faced death threats by fighting for unpopular causes and was jailed in the 1980s for her pro-democracy work during military rule, died on Sunday in Lahore. She was 66. Accolades for the fiery activist, whose name was virtually synonymous with human rights in Pakistan, poured in from political and legal figures. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi lauded her "immense contributions towards upholding rule of law, democracy and safeguarding human rights".
Jahangir was a U.N. special rapporteur for freedom of religion from 2004 to 2010, and later was a rapporteur for human rights in Iran.
In Pakistan, she campaigned tirelessly for democracy and free speech, frequently receiving death threats for taking up causes such as criticising the strict blasphemy laws of the conservative Muslim-majority country.
A lawyer by background, she was a founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Fearless in the face of authority, she was imprisoned in 1983 for her work with the Movement to Restore Democracy during of General Zia ul-Haq's military rule.
An icon of human rights,— Ziauddin Yousafzai (@ZiauddinY) February 11, 2018
A great champion of democracy,
The loudest voice of the voiceless,
The most courageous @Asma_Jahangir is no more among us.
Deserves love from every Pakistani
And state funeral from the @GovtOfPak pic.twitter.com/nUxOtxYVGM
So very sad & shocked to hear we have lost Asma Jahangir— Saima Mohsin (@SaimaMohsin) February 11, 2018
Fearless fighter for justice for the poor, vulnerable & forsaken
Always a source of
inspiration, strength & knowledge
A voice for women.
A true citizen of Pakistan
What will we do without you @Asma_Jahangir
Gone to soon pic.twitter.com/Ev7xduXcbc
A horrible loss for all of us. Will miss her incredible courage in insisting that human rights cannot be comprised, ever. #AsmaJahangir— meenakshi ganguly (@mg2411) February 11, 2018
Crushing news about the sudden death of Asma Jahangir. Indefatigable, incorrigible and endlessly fearless, she was a giant of the struggle for a better Pakistan.— Declan Walsh (@declanwalsh) 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.— Fasi Zaka (@fasi_zaka) February 11, 2018
inna lillahi wa inallah-e-raji'oon#AsmaJahangir
She was also placed under house arrest in 2007 for her part in a lawyers' protest movement that helped lead to military leader Pervez Musharraf stepping down from power.
In recent years, she was outspoken over the misuse of blasphemy laws that carry a mandatory death sentence for insulting Islam's prophet.
She also represented several civil society organisations that were threatened with shutdown as well as families of several "disappeared" activists over the past few years.
Jahangir's daughter Munizae said her mother died after suffering a heart attack on Sunday.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Mian Khursheed/File Photo