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Leading Pakistani Rights Activist Asma Jahangir Dies At 66


Asma Jahangir in 2015

Asma Jahangir, one of Pakistan's most prominent right activists and lawyers, has died at the age of 66.

Jahangir's daughter Muneeze said that the pro-democracy activist died in a hospital in the eastern city of Lahore where she had been rushed after suffering a heart attack.

Jahangir co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and was president of the Supreme Court's Bar Association. She also served as a UN special rapporteur on human rights.

In a statement, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi praised Jahangir’s contributions toward upholding rule of law, democracy, and safeguarding human rights.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai described her as a "savior of democracy and human rights."

A fierce defender of democracy, Jahangir was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s powerful military establishment and Islamic extremists.

In recent years, she was outspoken over the misuse of blasphemy laws that carry the death sentence.

She was imprisoned in 1983 for her pro-democracy activities during General Zia ul-Haq's military rule and put under house arrest in 2007 for opposing President Pervez Musharraf's removal of the Supreme Court's chief justice.

The activist and lawyer received several awards, including the French Legion of Honor and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and the BBC
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