ISLAMABAD - United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has paid tribute to Pakistan’s human rights giant Asma Jahangir following her death by cardiac arrest, 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.

“We have lost a human rights giant,” the UN chief said in a statement after Jahangir’s death was announced Sunday. “Asma was a tireless advocate for inalienable rights of all people. She was brilliant, deeply principled, courageous and kind.”

The fans and lovers of human rights activist Asma Jahangir continued to visit her residence to expresses condolences and sympathies with the bereaved family the second day of her sad and sudden demise.

Political leaders of various parties, including former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Safdar, visited her residence and expressed their condolences with the family members.

Both father and his daughter appreciated Asma’s role and struggle for supremacy of law and protection of human rights in the country.

Talking to reporters, Nawaz Sharif said Asma Jahangir was a great lawyer and human being. She was the supporter of marginalised and poor people, kind-hearted and companion of difficult times.

“She gave her life for human rights’ struggle and earned good name. May God raise her status hereinafter,” Nawaz Sharif said.

Maryam Safdar said: “It is a big loss for democracy, human rights and humanity. She was the voice of oppressed people.  Every person who has heart should play his role for the rights of the oppressed and become the voice of voiceless people.”

PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said she always fought for the rights of marginalised people. PPP leader Chaudhary Manzoor Ahmad said she was an outspoken woman. Aitzaz Ahsan, Aslam Gill, Abida Hussain and Mussadiq Malik were also among the visitors the second day.

Attorney General of Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf also paid tribute to Asma Jahangir, saying she was a big name. She always stood for the oppressed. Her death is a big loss.” Former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri said Asma did a lot of struggle for democracy. “She always spoke for others and her mission will continue,” said Kasuri.

Child Protection Bureau Chairperson Saba Saqid said she fought for human rights all through her life. She raised voice for the oppressed at international level and played her role for Kashmiris’ self-determination right.

Lahore Cathedral Reverend Dean Shahid Meraj expressed deep shock over her death. He said Christian community was grieved to learn about her death.

LEGAL FRATERNITY MOURNS ASMA’S DEATH

 The legal fraternity Monday mourned her sad and sudden death and called it an irreparable loss to the country.  The lawyers were sad while the judicial work also remained at low pace. Majority of the lawyers did not appear in the courts and did not plead their cases. The lawyers spent most of the day sitting in barrooms and sharing grief of her death with each other.

Lahore High Court Bar Association vice president Rashid Mahmood Lodhi said Asma’s death was not only the loss for legal fraternity but also for the whole country.

LHC former secretary Rana Asadullah Khan said Asma was bold, daring and vocal. Her death is the death of another chapter of resistance against injustice.

Following the call of Pakistan Bar Council, lawyers would continue mourning for the next two days.

SINDH CM WANTS STATE

FUNERAL FOR ASMA

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah asked the federal government to give state funeral to former Supreme Court Bar Association president and human rights activist Asma Jehangir to honour her decades of selfless services to the nation.

In a letter to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the chief minister said, “With the death of human rights activist and lawyer Asma Jahangir, Pakistan has lost a national asset. PLease consider my request for giving Asma Jahangir a state funeral.”

Meanwhile, the Sindh government has announced a day of mourning on Tuesday (today).

HR CHAMPION’S FUNERAL TODAY

The funeral of human rights activist Asma Jahangir will be held on Tuesday (today) at 2pm at Lahore City Cricket Association near Gaddafi Stadium. She has left behind her husband, two daughters and a son.

According to the family, Asma was talking on phone after having lunch at home when the cell phone fell down from her hand. Her driver noticed it and took her to Hameed Latif Hospital where doctors found that she had already expired.