Asma Jehangir’s death, a great loss

ONE of the towering personalities of legal fraternity, Asma Jehangir, is no more with us. She was a prominent human rights activist and former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan who rendered matchless services for the cause of independence of judiciary, rule of law, supremacy of the Constitution and an ardent advocate of parliamentary democracy.
Death is an inescapable reality and every living being has to taste it one day yet death of some people create a vacuum which is difficult to fill because of their personal traits and leadership qualities. It is rightly said that Asma Jehangir was an outspoken and courageous lady, and had risen to prominence by sheer dint of hard work, diligence and commitment to legal profession. She always spoke what she believed to be right and while doing so she never thought whom will her views favour and against whom these would be interpreted. Asma never compromised when came to rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution and always called upon all institutions to work strictly within their constitutionally stipulated domain. Only the other day, while speaking before the Supreme Court bench that is trying to interpret the duration of disqualification, Asma strongly pleaded the apex court not to encroach upon what is considered to be the domain of politicians and parliamentarians besides cautioning the court against selective use of contempt of court powers. She was founding member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and because of her staunch views on human rights, she was considered to be voice of the voiceless. She also worked with the international community through the United Nations and groups like Internal Crisis Group and the South Asia Forum for Human rights, making her an icon of HRs globally. Unlike many members of the black coat community, Asma always behaved in decent ways, never abused any judge or national leader, talked through cogent arguments, maintained strict neutrality based on principles, honesty and conducted herself in a disciplined manner. In present-day Pakistan, we needed in abundance such personalities and that is why people of Pakistan would always remember her. May her soul rest in peace, Ameen.

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