Bollywood, local celebs mourn Asma Jahangir’s sudden demise

Right Livelihood Award 2014 Stockholm 12/ 2014 Photo: Wolfgang Schmidt

Sunday proved to be a difficult day for Pakistan as two prominent personalities breathed their last. Renowned TV actor Qazi Wajid passed away at the age of 87 after being admitted in the hospital due to cardiac pain, while, eminent human rights lawyer, social activist and an outspoken critic of the country’s powerful military establishment, Asma Jahangir also passed away in Lahore due to cardiac arrest at the mere age of 66.

Notable personalities from the local celebrity circuit as well as from across the border remembered Asma Jahangir and took to social media to offer their last tributes to the fearless activist.

Mahira Khan shared pictures of both Qazi and Asma Jahangir with the caption, “Sad sad day for Pakistan.. we say goodbye to a great great artist and a fearless activist. They shall live on through their work, always.”

Ali Zafar wrote, “Shocking to hear about the passing of this brave woman. Her honesty and sincerity to her cause remains an inspiration for our generation. Was always so full of life. We will miss you, ma’am.”

Referring to Jahangir as “an icon”, Humayun Saeed said, it was “a sad day today (Sunday).”

Osman Khalid Butt tweeted, “Inna lillahi wa inna ileyhi raji’un. An irreplaceable loss – I wonder if we’ll ever see the likes of someone like you again, but I hope your storied life inspires countless. Asma Ji, thank you for being fearless, always. Rest in power.”

Actress Armeena Khan who is very active and vocal on Twitter wrote in a tweet, “A saviour of democracy and human rights passes away today. Anyone who values their freedom will understand what a massive loss it is that we have incurred today.”

Celebrities across the border also paid their tribute to the late activist.

Lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar called Asma “undoubtedly the bravest and the most resilient fighter for human rights”. “(She) had the courage to face the wrath of the dictators and the fury of the fundamentalist Mulla has passed away. It is the loss of the whole subcontinent,” he wrote.

Shabana Azmi remembered her friend, whom she deeply respected for her integrity and courage. “Just heard the devastating news that Asma Jehangir passed away… Pakistan has lost its most fearless crusader and the human rights movement its tallest leader. Our deepest condolences to the family,” she wrote.

Nandita said Asma’s death was a massive loss to the neighbouring country. “Deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Asma Jahangir. She was a true defender of human rights, democracy and fought till her last breath against authoritarian power, orthodoxy and discrimination. She was and will remain an inspiration. A huge loss. Condolences to all whose lives she touched,” the filmmaker wrote.

Director Mahesh Bhatt called Asma “an extraordinary woman who fought for ordinary people”. “An extraordinary woman who fought for ordinary people. Asmaji had the audacity and the courage to fight for a fairer world. Thank you for touching our lives,” he added.

Asma was the first woman to serve as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.

Her daughter Munizae Jahangir confirmed the news of her death. Senior lawyer Adeel Raja said Asma suffered a heart attack. “She was rushed to Hameed Latif Hospital Lahore where she breathed her last. Doctors tried to save her life but couldn’t,” he added.

Born in January 1952 in Lahore, Asma co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She has constantly raised the issue of “missing persons” in Pakistan and calling for grilling of intelligence agencies.


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