BRUSSELS/LONDON: Friends and supporters of Asma Jahangir mourned her sudden death across the world on Monday, sharing their memories of time spent with her. They paid glowing tributes to the deceased human rights lawyer and activist praising her for clarity of vision, undeterred resolve for human rights, and humane treatment of people irrespective of their class or creed. Renowned journalist and rights activist Beena Sarwar mentioned that Asma Jahangir had a clear political vision and sustained commitment to democracy and human rights values. “This was demonstrated on multiple occasions. When Gen. Musharraf toppled Nawaz Sharif’s government, many leading intellectuals expressed their relief as they were opposing the Sharif government’s undemocratic moves. “Asma retained her principled stance in opposing dictatorship and the toppling of a constitutionally-elected government, prevailing upon the elected council of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) to issue a statement against the coup at a time when many were supporting the ‘liberal’ dictator against the retrogressive ‘democrat’. She proved right in the long run as she so often was.” Beena remembered that Asma was so happy when they last met at her daughter Munizae Jahangir’s wedding ceremony. “She leaves a huge void and vacuum not just for Pakistanis but also for rights defenders in the South Asian region and around the world,” Beena asserted. Condolence messages are pouring in from around the world. References are being planned in Boston, including one at Harvard University, and also in New Delhi where she had many friends and admirers in the human rights activists’ fraternity. Senior journalist Khalid Hameed Farooqi mentioned his last meeting with Asma in London where she stressed upon the need for unity among human rights defenders. He mentioned that Asma was concerned about the recklessness state of affairs in Pakistan over core issues such as strengthening of democracy, enforced disappearances, and minority rights. He said that Asma urged him to unite likeminded people for upcoming struggle that human rights defenders would be facing in the country. He added that once she told him after taking the alternative Nobel Prize bestowed upon her by the Swedish Parliament in 2015 that activists would have to build an unshakable resolve to defend the rights of Pakistani citizens or they would lose the fight against undemocratic forces. Rights activist Cecil Shiraz Raj said that Pakistani activists had lost the greatest leader they ever had history. He said that he met Asma last year after a conference on the rights of minorities in Pakistan. He said that she raised her concerns about growing radicalisation in the society, which was resulting in discrimination against minorities. He added that her clear vision and undaunted principles were her biggest strength. Remembering her, Asim Ali Shah said that he met Asma last year at Faiz Mela in London where she appreciated the presence of so many pro-democracy non-sectarian people mostly of Pakistani origin. He said that as Abdul Sattar Edhi was a matchless figure in terms of philanthropy, so was Asma an icon of human rights and legal struggle in the country. Asim said that Asma’s comrades would be organising a condolence reference to mark her marvelous life in London on Tuesday. Her friends in Brussels will organise a condolence reference to commemorate her struggle on Wednesday. Published in Daily Times, February 13th 2018.