ISLAMABAD: Reporters without Borders (RSF) paid tribute to Asma Jahangir, who died of a heart attack on 11 February at the age of 66 and termed her a “towering figure in the defence of human rights, including press freedom and free speech”.
A news release by the journalists’ network expressed sorrow over the demise of the human rights icon “who dedicated her life to defending the freedom to inform in Pakistan and then in the entire world”.
“Asma Jahangir always fought for democracy and what guarantees democracy, starting with the press. Repeatedly detained, assaulted and threatened with death, she never stopped combatting Pakistan’s dictators, military and intelligence agencies with courage and determination, including as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan from 2010 to 2012″, the news release stated.
“With just her courage and the strength of her conviction, she achieved spectacular progress and won admiration in Pakistan and in all the countries where she worked. She truly embodied the universality of our struggle,” RSF Deputy Director-General Antoine Bernard said.
“Asma Jahangir was a towering figure in the defence of human rights, including press freedom and free speech,” said Iqbal Khattak, RSF’s representative in Pakistan. “Her sudden death is a major blow for the fight to enable the poorest sectors of the Pakistani population to fully enjoy these fundamental rights”, Khattak added.
The RSF added that Asma’s death was a major blow to the rights of the poor and the downtrodden. “She embodied courageous support for journalists’ fight for freedom, and will endure as a powerful symbol of freedom.”
“The recipient of many awards including the 2014 Right Livelihood Award, she will continue as an emblem of the struggle for human rights and democracy in Pakistan”, the news release stated.