Asma Jahangir's funeral set to take place in Lahore

Adjust Comment Print

With tears in eyes, thousands of mourning offered funeral prayers of renewed lawyers and human rights activist Asma Jahangir at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday afternoon.

Farooq Haider Maududi, the son of Jamaat-i-Islami founder and prominent Islamic scholar Abul Ala Maududi, led the funeral prayer.

Later she became the first female president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. She successfully took up the Saima Waheed case, which guaranteed the right of adult women to make their own choice in marriage - one of the most important cases in Pakistan's legal history.

Sindh Human Rights Commission Chairperson Justice (retd) Majida Razvi recalled the challenge against the structural bars made through the Hudood Ordinances in the Evidence Act in Zia's era that went totally against the principles of justice to discriminate on the basis of law and created the perception that women were inferior to men. She was also a vocal opponent of judicial overreach and would often confront the superior judiciary when it would extend its jurisdiction in her opinion.

Jahangir regularly raised concerns about the Pakistan military and intelligence services, but also was a staunch defender of minority Christian who were charged with blasphemy, an offence that potentially carries the death penalty.

Chief Minister's Special Assistant on Women Development Iram Khalid highlighted Asma's great efforts in making humans, including women, more empowered based on the principle of equality. Her auto was smashed as she attempted to leave the court.

The nation has been left shocked by her death. Both CCA and the WCC were partners of the Commission in their human rights advocacy on rights of religious minorities and democratisation in Pakistan. She actively participated in a movement for restoration of political and fundamental rights during the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq for which she was put under house arrest and later imprisoned in 1983.

"Ms. Jahangir called for vital human rights reforms and took urgent action on a large number of cases, affecting many lives in Iran", said a statement released by a group of human rights organizations. Yet nothing stopped her from speaking out against injustice, whether it was at protest marches on the streets, interviews on television, or speeches at universities overseas.

Born in Lahore, in Punjab province, Asma was the daughter of Malik Ghulam Jilani, a civil servant who upon retirement became a politician, and his wife, Sabiha.

Jahangir also received several awards, including the 2014 Right Livelihood Award, 2010 Freedom Award, Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2010 and Sitara-e-Imtiaz, UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights in 2010 and an Officier de la Légion d'honneur by France in 2014.

Asma Jahangir was shifted to hospital on Sunday but could not survive the cardiac arrest.

In the last post on her Twitter account, Jahangir cautioned the Supreme Court from selectively using the contempt of court law.