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February 14, 2018

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Asma laid to rest

LAHORE: Thousands of well-wishers from across all the strata converged at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday to attend the funeral of Asma Jahangir – the iconic street fighter for human rights of the minorities, persecuted and the marginalised segments of society.

Her funeral prayers were offered at the LCCA Ground, adjacent to the Gaddafi Stadium, amid sobs and tears of thousands of mourners – two days after the 66-year-old’s death on Sunday due to cardiac arrest in Lahore. Maulana Haider Farooq Maududi, son of the late Maulana Maududi, led the funeral prayers, which were attended by hundreds of men, women and children. The ground was packed to capacity with people from all walks of life, who had gathered to pay last respects to the great icon of freedom of human beings.

Those who attended the funeral included Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, PML-N leaders Pervaiz Rashid and Mushahid Hussain and the Mayor of Lahore. Minister for Maritime Affairs Hasil Bizenjo, Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Khalil Tahir Sandhu, eminent lawyers Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Ahmad Kurd, Akram Sheikh, journalists Imtiaz Alam, Muhammad Maalick, Hamid Mir and scores of sobbing lawyers dressed in black blazers bid their farewell to the iron lady.

Yet more prominent people who attended the funeral included Justice (retd) Nasira Javed Iqbal, Rehana Taufeeq, Member Special Committee on Social Welfare, Amna Ulfat, Tehmina Durrani, Saleema Hashmi, Mira Sethi, Mumtaz Mughal, Nusrat Jamil, Anees Haroon, Sajida Meer, Samiya Mumtaz and hundreds of women from a cross section of the society and even housewives gathered to bid farewell to the bravest lady of the continent.

Asma was buried at her family's farmhouse on Bedian Road, as per her wishes. Earlier, her body was transported from the morgue to her house in Gulberg, where close relatives and family members cast a last and farewell glance at her. From there, her funeral procession headed to Gaddafi Stadium, with mourners surrounding the van carrying her body on foot.

In the beginning of the funeral, as usual men were in the front row while women were struggling to get a glimpse of their role model. After a while, a man from the crowd requested the attendees to let the women come forward to see the their ideal for one last time. Subsequently, the male attendees made the way for women to come forward, only to be seen offering Namaz-e-Janaza along with men, which was unusual. Qul for Asma Jahangir would be held at her residence 121-E Haali Road, on Wednesday (today) at 3pm.

Asma was recipient of several national awards, including Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 1995. She is survived by two daughters Munizae Jahangir and Sulema Jehangir, son Jillani Jehangir, as well as husband Tahir Jehangir. After the funeral prayers, Tehmina Durrani told the reporter, “Asma Jahangir had written the foreword of my book ‘My Feudal Lord’. I am the success story of Asma, as she has seen me struggling with life only to emerge as empowered.”

Justice (retd) Nasira Javed Iqbal said: “In the span of years, I have seen peace on her face. She was always in a rush to do something, but now she was calm and displayed inner peace. Her smiling face tells that she has done a lot of good in her life.”

Rehana Taufeeq shared a memory with heavy heart saying: “We spent the jail time together and she was the one who always used to encourage others with power and confidence. She had dared to challenge a dictator in his face. There is no one left with such courage, not even a man, who can speak like her.” “Asma was even fair to her enemies and not an ordinary person has guts to do so,” said Amna Ulfat before she broke into tears.

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