LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistan bid farewell Tuesday to one of the country’s most prominent human rights activists, who died this week of a heart attack in the eastern city of Lahore.

Thousands attended the funeral service for Asma Jahangir at the city’s Gadhafi Stadium — including Jahangir’s family and relatives, friends, lawyers, judges, politicians and human rights activists.

A Muslim cleric led the prayers. Jahangir is to be buried at a more private ceremony later Tuesday.

Jahangir, who was 66, served as chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and was widely respected for her outspoken criticism of militant and extreme Islamist groups.

She was also president of the Supreme Court’s Bar Association and a U.N. rapporteur on human rights. She was on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential women.

“For years, she courageously defended the rights of those who did not have a voice, and championed the rule of law, democracy, and human rights including freedom of religion or belief,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.


Associated Press writer Josh Lederman in Washington contributed.