‘Pakistan Loses Human Rights Icon Asma Jahangir’


The team at New Pakistan joins Pakistanis in mourning the loss of Human Rights icon Asma Jahangir.

Ms Jahangir was a tireless fighter of human rights not only within Pakistan but around the world. Her untimely death has left a large void. Ms Jahangir was a democracy activist, helped co-found the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, was United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and a Trustee at the International Crisis Group.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres expressed sorrow at Ms Jahangir’s demise: “We have lost a human rights giant, Asma was brilliant, deeply principled, courageous and kind […] She will not be forgotten.”

According to an editorial in Dawn: “Asma Jahangir was a citizen that all of Pakistan could be proud of and whom most can only hope to emulate. Principled and courageous, Asma’s willingness and determination to confront evil, defend the vulnerable, and insist on Pakistan living up to the ideals of its democratic, constitutional and secular foundations made her truly iconic. A woman who lived the majority of her adult life in the public eye, Asma eschewed self-promotion for a steadfast and remarkable focus on the issues that ought to be of concern to every right-thinking and sensible citizen.”


The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan released a statement on Ms Jahangir:

“The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is devastated and shocked at the unexpected and sudden passing away of its co-founder Asma Jahangir: exemplary lawyer, human rights icon, pro-democracy champion, friend and mentor par excellence, and a brave comrade of the poor and the disadvantaged. She died yesterday due to cardiac arrest.”

“The human rights movement in Pakistan was founded and is defined by Asma Jahangir. She co-founded HRCP in 1986 to establish a highly informed and objective voice on a national level in the struggle for the provision of human rights for all and democratic development in Pakistan. Yet, HRCP had a voice and reach, both nationally and internationally, ​mainly because of her. Asma Jahangir had served as Secretary-General and Chairperson of HRCP in the past. She was currently serving as HRCP’s Spokesperson and as the UN Special Rapporteur of Human Rights in Iran, among her numerous other significant appointments.”

“Asma Jahangir’s unique and outstanding contribution to the human rights discourse is acknowledged by friend and foe alike, nationally and globally. HRCP has not known a braver and more tireless human rights defender than Asma Jahangir. She will be missed, always and immensely, by all whose lives she touched.”