Senate, NA resolutions term Asma's death national loss

Senate, NA resolutions term Asma's death national loss

Prominent lawyer and renowned social activist, Asma Jahangir's funeral prayers will be held today in Lahore at the Gaddafi Stadium at 3 pm.

The US State Department on Tuesday expressed grief at the demise of Pakistan's eminent human rights campaigner Asma Jahangir.

Farooq Haider Maududi, the son of Jamaat-i-Islami founder and prominent Islamic scholar Abul Ala Maududi, led the funeral prayer. "While addressing the Asia plenary session of the Central Committee meeting of the WCC in the early 2000's, Asma Jahangir reminded the global ecumenical community how important it is to be careful about the trend in many countries bringing religion into legislations, as the law itself can become an instrument of persecution against religious minorities".

Jahangir remained the head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and the Supreme Court Bar Association. She went on to become the first woman to serve as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. She championed the cause of women, children, bonded labourers, religious minorities, journalists, the disappeared, and so many others.

"For decades, Asma bravely fought for the most disadvantaged people in Pakistan, often at great personal risk".

Jahangir faced death threats, beatings and imprisonment to win landmark human rights cases while standing up to dictators. Advancement of human rights and prospects of peace between India and Pakistan are integrally interdependent. She was 66-years-old. Jahangir had been closely associated with the human rights advocacy initiatives of the CCA and the World Council of Churches (WCC) for several years. Her chapter was entitled Human Rights Are Women's Rights, because, as she told me: "You can not have human rights in a society if you do not have women's rights".

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She has constantly raised the issue of "missing persons" in Pakistan and calling for grilling of intelligence agencies.

"In a country where women were being victimised in the name of a draconian law, it was Asma who stood up and proved to be a beacon of hope for the new generation", she said.

Through the resolution, the National Assembly members recognised Ms Jahangir's services "for rule of law, democracy and constitutionalism, besides her fearless struggle against oppression and rights abuses".

Daughter of Malik Ghulam Jilani, who himself fought military dictatorship all his life not knowing it would become a permanent feature even under democracy, Asma attended Convent of Jesus and Mary in Lahore and got her BA from Kinnaird College in Lahore.

During a visit to Dhaka she addressed a meeting of human rights activists and spoke out against Pakistan's military action in Bangladesh in 1971.

"This House resolves that as representatives of the people of Pakistan we are committed to the highest standards for protecting and upholding fundamental rights of every citizen and in that we consider that as upholder of rights, her loss is a national loss and Pakistan mourns her passing away", it concludes.

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