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Mourners bid farewell to Pakistan's human rights icon

Press Trust of India  |  Lahore 

The prayers for Asma Jahangir, Pakistan's human rights of the country's powerful army, were offered here today at the which was attended by thousands of mourners, including women.

Asma, 66, died of last Sunday in

Farooq Haider Maududi, the son of founder and prominent Islamic scholar Abul Ala Maududi, led the prayer.

A number of rights activists, lawyers, judges, government officials, celebrities and ordinary citizens were present in the to pay respect to the woman who fought for the rights of people especially women and struggled against the military dictators.

A number of women also attended her prayer, an unusual scene in conservative


The prayers were held under high security at the stadium - a venue for international matches- where police camera drones flew overhead.

She was buried at her family's farmhouse on Baidian Road.

She is survived by her husband, two daughters and a son.

Born in January 1952 in Lahore, she received a bachelor's degree from and an LLB from University.

She started her career as an at a high court.

Known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit for human rights, Asma was the first woman to serve as the of Bar Association of

Asma became a champion democracy activist and was subsequently imprisoned in 1983 for participating in the against the military rule of Pakistan's longest-serving Zia-ul Haq.

In 1986, she moved to and became the of the Defence for She remained there until 1988 before moving back to

In 1987, she co-founded the Human Rights Commission of and became its until 1993 when she was elevated as commission's

Asma also played an active role in the famous Lawyers' Movement to restore as the of

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

She was critical of the for "judicial activism" and also criticised the apex court for disqualifying from the office of in July last year.

Asma has received several awards including the 2014 Right Livelihood Award, 2010 Freedom Award, Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2010 and Sitara-e-Imtiaz.

She was also awarded a UNESCO/Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights and an d'honneur by

She has also been an outspoken critic of the Pakistan's powerful military establishment, including during her tenure as the first-ever female of Pakistan's top bar association.

Asma was arrested in 2007 by the government of the then military dictator Pervez Musharraf, and in 2012 claimed her life was in danger from the country's top spy agency - Inter (ISI).

In 2012, she claimed her life was in danger from the country's premier spy agency.

UN said her passing away was echoing within her native and across the world. We have lost a human rights giant."

In a separate statement, said she was a brave champion of human rights who leaves behind a powerful legacy.

The had announced three days of mourning.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 13 2018. 18:45 IST
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