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 24.com network.

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.


Pakistan lawyers strike to mourn colleague

08 May 2014, 14:07

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.


Tags pakistan

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...