Pakistan lawyers strike to mourn colleague

2014-05-08 10:55

(File) (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Multan - Lawyers in the central Pakistani city of Multan went on strike on Thursday to mourn a colleague who was shot dead for defending a university lecturer accused of blasphemy.

Gunmen stormed the office of defence lawyer Rashid Rehman on Wednesday evening and started firing indiscriminately, shooting him and two of his associates. Rehman, 50, was pronounced dead in hospital.

"We are observing a strike and no lawyer will appear in any court today to mourn and protest the killing of our colleague," Sher Zaman Qureshi, president of the District Bar Association Multan, told AFP.

"We demand that the killers of Rashid Rehman should be arrested immediately," Qureshi said.

He added that Rehman had told the association he had received death threats and they had asked the police to provide security, but the request was declined.

"Rashid Rehman had informed us that he was being threatened by various people to stop defending the blasphemy case, otherwise he will be killed," Qureshi said.

Rehman was representing Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University who is accused of making derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in March last year.

Hafeez was known at the university for his liberal views and the blasphemy case was registered after pressure from right-wing student groups, according to a student who did not wish to be named.

Blasphemy laws

An official at the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that for a year, no lawyer was prepared to take up the case over fears of attacks from extremist religious groups.

But Rehman, who was also a rights activist and co-ordinator of the HRCP, decided to defend Hafeez.

During the first hearing in March this year, which took place inside a prison for security reasons, Rehman received threats from the complainant's lawyers.

"During the hearing the lawyers of the complainant told Rehman that he wouldn't be present at the next hearing as he would not be alive," said the HRCP in a statement issued after the incident in March.

Rehman was threatened in the presence of the judge, according to the HRCP.

Pakistan has strict laws against defaming Islam - including the death penalty for insulting the Prophet Mohammed - and rights campaigners say they are often used to settle personal disputes.

A recent report from a US government advisory panel said Pakistan used blasphemy laws more than any other country in the world, listing 14 people on death row and 19 others serving life sentences for insulting Islam.
Read more on:    pakistan

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.