In the city of Multan, gunmen have shot dead a lawyer who was attempting to defend a university professor blamed for blasphemy, police and officials say
According to police Rashid Rehman was shot when he was in his office with his two subordinates who received injuries. In Pakistan, accusations of blasphemy are taken very seriously.
Critics say that minorities groups are often falsely targeted and blasphemy law is repeatedly misused to settle personal disputes and quarrels. Mr Rehman died due to “indiscriminate firing” in his office on Wednesday evening, Senior police official Zulfiqar Ali told AFP news agency.
He further said that he and his two injured coworkers were immediately rushed to hospital where doctors pronounced him dead. Mr Rehman was trying to defend Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University accused by rigid student groups of making offensive statements against the Prophet Muhammad in March last year.
An official at the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) told AFP that no lawyer was ready to engage in the case because of fear of vengeances from extremists for about a year. Mr Rehman, a rights activist and co-ordinator of the HRCP, agreed to commence the case of Mr Hafeez in spite of allegedly getting death threats.