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United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran Asma Jahangir passes away

United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran Asma Jahangir passes away”

Condolences poured in on Sunday afternoon after the sudden death of leading Pakistan human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir earlier in the day.

Asma Jilani was born in Lahore on January 27, 1952, the daughter of a Pakistani legislator from an upper-class family. Zaid Hamid, a controversial political commentator known to have a liking for conspiracy theories, compared her to a Pakistani politician who is accused of treachery and inciting violence. She later went on to become the first woman to serve as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, The Dawn reported. She was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Arbitrary or Summary Executions and later as the UN Rapporteur of Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Jahangir became a democracy activist and was imprisoned in 1983 for participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy against the military regime of General Ziaul Haq.

She was critical of the Supreme Court for "judicial activism" and also criticised the apex court for disqualifying Nawaz Sharif from the office of prime minister in July previous year. She represented several clients who were denied their fundamental rights and defended cases of minorities, women and children in prisons. She was hailed as a courageous crusader, awarded dozens of global honors, nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and described as "the gutsiest woman" in Pakistan.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, and other Supreme Court judges expressed deep sorrow and grief on her demise.

She was also active in the 2007 Lawyers' Movement, for which she was put under house arrest. She remained house arrest in 2007 for nine days.

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif spoke about Asma's work for women and stance against dictators, saying it would be hard to fill the void left by her death. We say goodbye to a great great artist and a fearless activist.

Jahangir's pro-democracy struggle as a lawyer and activist had made her a staunch critic of Pakistan's military, intelligence agencies and armed groups.

Asma Jahangir is survived by a son and two daughters. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and is now studying at Oxford.

In her lifetime, she was awarded with prestigious awards in the country including the Hilal-i-Imtiaz and Sitara-i-Imtiaz in recognition of her services.

Pakistan's former foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, tweeted, "There' s no one who can match her bravery and courage".



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