2018-02-13

Pakistan bids farewell to 'moral compass' Asma Jahangir

AFP

LAHORE -- Pakistan bid farewell to its top rights advocate, Asma Jahangir, Tuesday (February 13), with thousands cramming into Gaddafi Stadium under tight security to grieve the woman described by many as the country's "moral compass".

Jahangir, who died of cardiac arrest Sunday (February 11) aged 66, was a lawyer who co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and also served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

Sobbing lawyers, politicians, intellectuals and activists joined more than 3,000 citizens flooding to the stadium in Lahore, where camera drones flew overhead as mourners accompanied the body with flowers and wreaths.

Women could be seen in the front row and throughout the crowd during the funeral prayers -- highly unusual in Pakistan, where the genders are often segregated for prayers and social events, but symbolic of Jahangir's leadership in the long battle for women's rights in the conservative, patriarchal country.

She was widely admired in the international humanitarian community and was seen as a champion of the downtrodden in Pakistan, especially for minorities.

"Asma's death has created a wide gap that looks to be never filled," one attendee, college teacher Said Raheem Ul Haque, told AFP as the service began.

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