‘We’re orphans right now’: Iconic Pakistan human rights defender dies

IA Rehman studying a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report throughout a 2004 information convention in Islamabad [File: Farooq Naeem/AFP]

IA Rehman, an iconic Pakistani human rights defender and journalist, has died within the jap metropolis of Lahore after a short sickness, his household and associates stated. Rehman was 90.

Rehman spent his life defending human rights, opposing army dictators, combating for the rule of legislation and democracy. He was additionally a powerful voice for the nation’s minorities, together with Christians and Hindus.

He died of outdated age, excessive blood sugar, and blood stress, in line with Harris Khalique, secretary-general on the impartial Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). Rehman was the HRCP’s honorary spokesperson and former secretary-general.

Rehman labored as an editor for numerous newspapers earlier than becoming a member of the fee. He frequently contributed articles for a number of Pakistani newspapers.

Rehman was born in 1930 in Haryana in neighbouring India earlier than Pakistan gained its independence after the top of British colonial rule in 1947.

He was the writer of three books an advocate of peace between Pakistan and India, the 2 South Asian nuclear rivals who’ve fought three wars since 1947.

Rehman campaigned for amendments to the nation’s controversial blasphemy legal guidelines, which home and worldwide rights teams say have usually been used to intimidate non secular minorities and to settle private scores.

The reviews of his dying prompted an outpouring of grief on social media, with individuals from cupboard ministers to the nation’s opposition paying tributes to Rehman for his contribution to journalism and human rights.

Among the mourners was Pakistani overseas minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who tweeted that the nation had misplaced “a real icon”.

A longtime buddy, human rights defender Afrasiab Khattak, tweeted that Rehman’s dying marked “the top of an period”.

The HRCP stated in a press release: “Few individuals in Pakistan and past may match the depth and breadth of his advocacy towards enforced disappearances, the dying penalty and bonded labour, or his unwavering help for the rights of girls, kids, and non secular and ethnic minorities.”

“IA Rehman leaves behind a powerful legacy of talking reality to energy in a approach that not solely persuaded others of the worth of respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of legislation, but additionally conveyed to these he criticised how damaging their position could possibly be for probably the most susceptible members of society,” HRCP chairperson Hina Jilani stated.

The US consulate within the jap metropolis of Lahore additionally prolonged condolences to Rehman’s household and associates, calling him “a journalist and defender of human rights” who “will encourage numerous future generations”.

Rehman is predicted to be buried within the metropolis of Lahore in a while Monday.

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