The funeral prayers of senior lawyer and social activist Asma Jahangir has been offered at Qaddafi Stadium today.

Her dead body was taken to the stadium from her house. Large numbers of her friends, family members, politicians, and followers reached the stadium for prayers. 

Haider Farooq Maududi led social activist's funeral prayers

Lawyers dressed in black blazers, leading politicians, intellectuals and activists joined citizens flooding Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium, where camera drones flew overhead as mourners accompanied the body with flowers and wreaths.

"Asma's death has created a wide gap that looks to be never filled," one attendee, college teacher Said Raheem Ul Haque, told AFP as the service began

Asma Jahangir died of cardiac arrest on Sunday at the age of 66. Her supporters and former opponents alike took to social media to offer condolences and express shock at news of her sudden demise.

President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, other state officials, and political and social leaders expressed their grief, and praised Asma for her contribution to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding human rights.

According to the family sources, Asma was talking on phone after having lunch at her home when the cell phone fell from her hands. Her driver noticed it and he, along with grand-daughter, took her to Hameed Latif Hospital – where doctors found that she had already expired.

The death of the pro-democracy activist and women rights defender, who was also a cancer patient, was seen as a major blow to the country’s embattled rights community.

“The way she lived, it’s not just the family’s loss but also of those who are voiceless and for whom she kept raising her voice,” said her sister Hina Jilani, who herself is a prominent rights activist and lawyer.

The deceased is survived by a son - Jeelani Jahangir - and two daughters - Munizae Jahangir and Suleema Jahangir.

Asma Jahangir was a national figure on human rights, a fierce defender of democracy and a top lawyer of the country and few Pakistani activists have achieved her level of credibility. She braved death threats, beatings and imprisonment to win landmark human rights cases while standing up to dictators.

She remained a president of Supreme Court Bar Association and was included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential women.

Asma was also a co-founder and chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, besides being the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran since 2016.

She along with her sister Hina Jillani set up first legal aid cell for women in Pakistan. In 2014 she received France’s highest civilian award and Sweden’s Right Livelihood Award, for her decades of rights work.

Asma was imprisoned in 1983 for her work with the Movement to Restore Democracy during of General Ziaul Haq’s military rule.

She was also placed under house arrest in 2007 for her part in a lawyers’ protest movement that eventually led to general-president Pervez Musharraf’s stepping down from power and restoration of deposed judges of superior courts.