Asma Jahangir’s demise: The end of an era

February 12, 2018

Renowned Pakistani lawyer and human rights champion Asma Jahangir – 66 passed away on Sunday morning after suffering from cardiac arrest.

Asma was known for her outspoken nature and the efforts she has done for human rights. She acquired several awards, including a Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2010 and a Sitara-e-Imtiaz. For the promotion of a Culture of Human Rights and an Officier de la Légion d’honneur, she was also awarded a UNESCO/Bilbao Prize by France. Moreover, she received the 2014 Right Livelihood Award and the 2010 Freedom Award.

She played a vital role for human rights as a co-founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Women’s Action Forum. For her services towards building a democratic Pakistan, she will always be remembered.

Her sudden death has left everyone in shock. This is how different human rights activists, legal professionals and media persons reacted to the death of Asma Jahangir.

Nighat Dad – a human rights and internet activist and founder of Digital Rights Foundation was deeply saddened on leading lawyer’s demise, “Asma Jahangir was an epitome of hope. She was strong in her resistance and was fierce, fearless lawyer and human rights activist. She was and will remain an inspiration for activists like me and her legacy will live on.”

Umaima – A leading journalist also reacted on the sudden demise of Asma Jahangir, “Asma Jahangir’s death is an end of an era.”

“Heartbroken that we lost Asma Jahangir – a savior of democracy and human rights”, says Aseefa – a lawyer by profession.

According to Mehak Khan – a human rights activist, “She was a fierce fighter, a brave and true Pakistani who protected humanity and democracy of Pakistan. May her soul rest in peace.”

Sabin Agha – a Journalist, Documentary Film Producer and Media Teaching Consultant was deeply shocked and saddened over the demise of Asma Jahangir, she said, “Asma Jahangir’s demise is a personal loss. Pakistan is a place where we see public figures, across the board, leaning to either left or right wing, to remain popular. Asma’s principals compelled her to be objective and beyond discrimination. She was a staunch critic of every abuse that was committed by those in power, but if the same powers that be were in crisis and needed a just stand, Asma was the first one standing with them to help them in principle.”

She went on and spoke about the bravery of Asma, “I have never ever come across a person in this country, who was so consistent and persistent in her stand. She angered many powerful quarters in Pakistan, including army, owing to her honestly, defiance and critical thinking. Even her opponents admired her conscientious.”

Najia Mir – Goodwill ambassador at International Human Rights Commission- IHRC and a news anchor shared her love and respect for Asma Jahangir, “All my love and respect for late Asma jahangir. She was a true face of liberty and human rights. Absolutely irreplaceable, a real icon, a lighthouse for the rudderless ships, a symbol of courage and commitment. We will miss her at every juncture of our adversity.”

Not only Pakistan’s human right activists, lawyers, civil society and media persons expressed grief over the sudden death of Asma Jahangir, but Indian celebrities including Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das, human rights foundations and EU Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Deputy Director of Asia Program Michael Kugelman also shared their thoughts about the great loss.

For most of us, Asma Jahangir was a moral compass, a beacon of hope and values. Her strength and principles were unmatched. May Allah grant solace to her soul. – Aameen