Human Rights Champion and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Asma Jahangir dies aged 66

Human Rights Champion and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Asma Jahangir dies aged 66

Asma Jahangir, one of Pakistan’s most prominent human rights activists, has died of a heart attack at 66.

Jahangir was the chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and respected for her outspoken criticism of the country’s militant Islamist groups and her record as an activist. She was also the president of the supreme court bar association and had served as the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran since 2016.

Jahangir, a fierce defender of democracy who also regularly raised concerns about Pakistan’s military and intelligence services, was included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential women.

She defended minority Christians charged with blasphemy, an offence that under Pakistan’s controversial law carries the death penalty.

She was repeatedly threatened by the country’s militant religious right whom she criticised loudly and often.

A champion of human rights, Jahangir was unafraid to speak loudly against those attacking minority religions and women. She won scores of international awards. Several years ago, she briefly sent her family out of the country following threats from militant groups.

(Article snippet taken from The Guardian, 11 February 2018.)