MULTAN: In a very horrific incident of religious intolerance, one lawyer was slain in his chamber by several gunshots apparently for defending one lecturer of Bahauddin Zakariya University against blasphemy charges.
According to the police, the assailants entered the chamber of slain lawyer Rashid Rehman and fired several gunshots. Rashid received the most of the bullets that proved he was the prime target. The other two associates received bullet injuries but later pronounced out of danger by the hospital.
The bullet riddled body of Rashid and his wounded associates were then shifted to the Nishtar Hospital. However, Rashid succumbed to the bullet injuries.
Police sources confirmed that slain lawyer was receiving life threats for past two months as explained by his friends and family.
Rashid was representing Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University, accused of making derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) in March 2013.
When approached the university administration, no one was ready to talk about the matter. However, one student (name kept anonymous on purpose) said “Hafeez was known for his liberal views at the university and the case of blasphemy was registered after pressure from right-wing student groups.”
An official at the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said for a year no lawyer was prepared to take up the case over fears of attacks from extremist religious groups, but Rashid, who was also a human rights activist and coordinator of the HRCP, decided to defend Hafeez.
During the first hearing in March this year, which took place inside a prison for security reasons, Rashid received threats from the lawyers representing the complainant.
“During the hearing the lawyers of the complainant told Rashid that he would not be present at the next hearing as he would not be alive,” said the HRCP in a statement issued after the incident in March.
According to the HRCP, Rashid was threatened in the presence of the judge.