LAHORE -  Human rights icon and eminent lawyer Asma Jahangir was laid to rest in her family’s farmhouse on Bedian Road amid love and tears here Tuesday.

Haider Farooq Maududi, son of famous scholar Abul A’la Maududi, led the funeral prayers at Gaddafi Stadium at 3pm.

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, Federal Minister Saad Rafiq, Senator Pervez Rasheed, the Lahore High Court chief justice, LHC judges, lawyers, civil society members, human rights activists, celebrities and ordinary citizens from all walks of life attended the funeral prayers. It was the first time that a large number of women offered her Namaz-e-Janaza.

Her body was brought to Gaddafi Stadium in an ambulance which was decorated with floral wreath while her fans and colleagues were seen crying and running along the van. Soon after the funeral prayers, her body was taken to the farmhouse of her family near Bedian Road for burial.

Strict security arrangements had been made on the occasion and all roads leading to the stadium had been closed for traffic. The way leading to Asma’s residence from Liberty Roundabout was open only for her relatives and VVIPs. Female lawyers and her colleagues expressed their love for the departed soul on the occasion.

Asma Jahangir died of cardiac arrest on Sunday at the age of 66. According to the family, Asma was talking on phone after having lunch at her home when the cell phone fell down from her hand. Her driver noticed it and took her along with her granddaughter 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 those struggling for protection of human rights of citizens.

“Asma’s death is not only the loss of one family but also that of those who are voiceless and for whom she kept raising her voice,” said her sister Hina Jilani who is also a prominent rights activist and lawyer.

The deceased is survived by son Jeelani Jahangir and daughters Munizae Jahangir and Saleema Jahangir.

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

She was a former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and was the only woman who became president of the top bar. She was included in Time Magazine’s list of 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 and her sister Hina Jillani set up the 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 over her struggle with the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) during General Ziaul Haq’s military rule.

She was also placed under house arrest in 2007 for participating in lawyers’ protest movement for restoration of deposed judges of superior courts during Pervez Musharraf’s era.

Politicians, lawyers, human rights activists, social workers, representatives of minorities and people from different walks of life have expressed their deep sorrow and grief over her sudden death.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and other judges of the Supreme Court reached her home in Gulberg to condole with her family. Lahore High Court Chief Justice Yawar Ali and other judges of the high court also offered condolences to the bereaved family.

Bar associations across the country announced three days of mourning. Condolence programmes were also announced by different social and human rights organisations.