Mr. Rashid-Ul-Rehman a Human Rights defender, advocate High Court, based in Multan was serving persecuted in Pakistan for last several years. He was also a member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and a good practicing lawyer to deal with the cases on Humanitarian grounds.
Since last year on June 17, 2013 CLAAS received an email from Maya Pastakia, Campaigner (Afghanistan and Pakistan), Asia-Pacific Programme, of Amnesty International, she wrote the following
Dear Joseph, Peter and Benjamin
Please forgive this circular email, but I’m writing to you all in the hope that you can advise or help in the blasphemy case of Junaid Hafeez. Gita Seghal, a former Amnesty International colleague, who now runs the Centre for Secular Space in London, recently contacted me about this case. Please see the CSC’s Urgent Action attached for full details about the case. In a nutshell, Junaid Hafeez, an English lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University, was accused of blasphemy apparently as part of a campaign by Jamaat-e-Islaami to oust him from his post to “purify” the English department. (Professor Shirin Zubair, head of the department went on forced leave after being accused of promoting secularism and making blasphemous remarks).
The upshot is that Junaid’s case is due to be heard on 20 June in Multan but he doesn’t have a lawyer. His previous lawyer stepped down due to intimidation the lawyers in the Multan region have reportedly passed a resolution saying that they won’t work in his case. Is there any possibility that you could find a lawyer to represent him and urge the authorities to hold the trial in prison to prevent public exposure of the case? We’re concerned about his security if there’s a public hearing.
Gita has written to Asma Jehangir and Hina Jilani asking for their legal help but was told that they couldn’t currently represent him but would see if they could him find a lawyer. If you can help with legal representation, perhaps you could get in touch with Asma/Hina? In case you need it, I have also included the phone number of Junaid’s father who’s naturally quite desperate about the situation. Junaid’s father’s phone number: 0092 3336446443
After receiving this message CLAAS contacted Junaid’s father to know about the situation of the case. The family informed CLAAS that they need a lawyer to represent their case as they could pay the lawyers fee. CLAAS team went to Multan to get the copy of Junaid case CLAAS was trying to hire a lawyer in Lahore to go Multan to deal with this serious case, the team noticed that there were banners and posters pasted on the court walls that Junaid Hafeez is a blasphemer and he must be killed and if any one tried to defend him will be killed.
Meanwhile Mr. Rashid Rehman Khan a lawyer from Multan and a member of HRCP offered his services to defend Junaid Hafeez. Since June 2013 he was representing Junaid Hafeez in the court, but CLAAS remained in contact with Junaid’s father and brothers.
On April 04, 2014 Junaid’s father informed CLAAS that Junaid’s Jail trial has done and he was shifted to Multan central jail on April 03 and Next hearing was in central jail on 9th April 2014. On the fixed hearing the Muslim extremists openly threatened Mr. Rashid-Ul-Rehman to stop helping Junaid otherwise he would have to face dire consequences.
They again threatened him for life in the presence of Mr. Shabaz Paracha Additional Session Judge (who was conducting the case trial of Junaid) on the court hearing April 19, 2014. They openly said to Rashid-Ul-Rehman that he would be killed and he would not be attending the next court hearing of Junaied Hafeez. Mr. Rahid-Ul-Rehman gave an application to the Regional Police Officer and asked for security but he did not provide.
On May 07, 2014 Mr. Rashid-Ul-Rehman was in his Chamber in Multan along with his two other companion lawyer and preparing for Junaid’s case. He was preparing an application under section 265 K to move in the court to release Junaid as he was innocent in this case. When sudden two unknown came to his chamber armed with deadly weapons and they opened fire on Rashid Rehman and killed him on the spot. He received six fires one in his head and 5 in other parts of body while other two also serious injured. Rescue 1122 took these all three to the Nishat Hospital Multan for emergency treatment where doctors declared that Rashid Rehman Khan was expired.
This is an open threat to the human rights defenders and especially who defending the Blasphemy victims. Islamic organizations like Jamaat-Ul Dawa and Jamaat-e-Islaami are very active in Pakistan and blasphemy victims and human rights defenders are on life threats by them.
Today on May 08, 2014 all human rights activists and members of HRCP including I A Rehman and others are in Multan for the funeral service of Rashid-Ul-Rehman.
May his soul rest in Peace, Amen.