Tuesday Feb 13, 2018
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday paid tribute to the deceased Asma Jahangir, terming her a “towering figure in the defence of human rights, including press freedom and free speech”.
A news release by the journalists’ network expressed sorrow over the demise of the human rights icon “who dedicated her life to defending the freedom to inform in Pakistan and then in the entire world”.
“With just her courage and the strength of her conviction, she achieved spectacular progress and won admiration in Pakistan and in all the countries where she worked. She truly embodied the universality of our struggle,” RSF deputy director-general Antoine Bernard said.
The RSF added that Jahangir’s death was a “major blow” to the rights of the poor and the downtrodden.
“She embodied courageous support for journalists’ fight for freedom, and will endure as a powerful symbol of freedom.”
Jahangir, who co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and came to be known as a fearless voice of the marginalised sections of the society, passed away on Sunday after suffering a cardiac arrest. She was 66. Her funeral prayers were offered at Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.
She was known for speaking against human rights violations and her courageous stand against dictatorships. 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.
The US State Department issued a press release on Tuesday condoling the death of Jahangir.
We join Pakistan and others around the world in mourning the untimely death of Pakistani human rights and democracy advocate, Asma Jahangir. For years, she courageously defended the rights of those who did not have a voice, and championed the rule of law, democracy, and human rights including freedom of religion or belief," the press release said.
The state department praised Jahangir's role as a UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, where "she improved the world’s understanding of the plight of religious minorities worldwide through her in-depth research and sustained engagements and fought for the protection of the persecuted".