United Nations Secretary General paid tribute to Pakistan’s “human rights” activist

Vastavam Web: The United Nations Secretary- General has paid tribute to Pakistan’s “human rights giant” Asma Jahangir following her death by cardiac arrest at the weekend, praising her courage in campaigns for justice and equality for all.Antonio Guterres issued his “heartfelt condolences” to those grieving the 66-year-old lawyer, who co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and also once served as UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran.Pakistan social media has been flooded with an outpouring of grief for the loss of what many described as the country’s “moral compass”, while on Monday newspaper front pages were dominated by tributes to the nation’s leading human rights activist.

In its editorial “Asma the fearless”, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper said Jahangir was a citizen that all of Pakistan could be proud of and whom most can only hope to emulate.Another English language daily, The News wrote that she “spoke out bravely and with immense courage for all the oppressed people of the country, essentially acting as the conscience of Pakistan”.”Only her sudden death could silence her and steal away from us the bravest of the brave this country has produced,” it said.

Jahangir faced death threats, beatings and imprisonment to win landmark human rights cases while standing up to dictators.Jahangir secured a number of victories during her life, from winning freedom for bonded labourers from their “owners” through pioneering litigation, to a landmark court case that allowed women to marry of their own volition.She was also an outspoken critic of the powerful military establishment, including during her stint as the first-ever female leader of Pakistan’s top bar association.In 2012 she claimed her life was in danger from the feared Inter Services Intelligence spy agency.