Pakistani activist and India’s friend Asma Jehangir dies of cardiac arrest

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Asma Jehangir at her house in Lahore. Photo courtesy: The New York Times

The Hush Post: Eminent lawyer and leading Pakistani human rights activist  Asma Jehangir, 66, died at Lahore on Sunday. She died of cardiac arrest, according to her sister.”Unfortunately we have lost her,” Hina Jilani, also a prominent rights activist and lawyer, told AFP. She was a friend of India, who advocated peace with India, and was critical of the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies. She was a champion of defending the rights of women, minorities, and children from religious extremism, honor killings, and blasphemy laws.

She had many friends and admirers in India as well. Her friends in Bollywood  included screenwriter-lyricist Javed Akhtar, actor Shabana Azmi, filmmakers Mahesh Bhatt and Nandita Das who took to social media to pay their last respects.

She was the founding chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and was a trustee of the International Crisis Group. She served as the United Nations rapporteur on human rights and extrajudicial killings. Asma received France’s highest civilian award and Sweden’s Right Livelihood Award

Born on January  27, 1952, into an affluent family in Lahore, Asma Jilani Jehangir studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Kinnaird College in Lahore, and received her law degree from Punjab University in Lahore in 1978.

She was into politics from an early age as her father, Malik Ghulam Jilani, a left-wing politician, was frequently jailed for opposing military dictators. She would initially appear in court to represent her jailed father

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