HRCP concerned at threat to lawyer

KARACHI: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has voiced serious concern and indignation over threats extended to a senior lawyer representing a blasphemy accused inside a courtroom in the Multan Central Prison.

In a statement issued from Lahore on Thursday, Commission said: “HRCP is extremely concerned over threats hurled to the lawyers of blasphemy accused Junaid Hafeez in open court. His lawyers Rashid Rehman and Allah Dad had appeared before a judge for a hearing on Wednesday April 9. The case is being heard in Multan Central Jail in view of security concerns.

“During arguments for acquittal of the accused, three persons addressed defence lawyer Rashid Rehman, Advocate, in the judge’s presence and said: ‘You will not come to court next time because you will not exist anymore.’ Rehman drew the judge’s attention to the threat but the judge is reported to have remained silent.

“The difficulty that the accused has had in finding and retaining a lawyer is well known. HRCP views that as a systematic denial of legal representation to the accused.

HRCP believes that no one except bigots have an interest in the accused going unrepresented. If this charade continues for much longer HRCP will have no qualms in concluding that it has been decided that the accused would not be allowed legal representation and there is no need to bother with a trial anymore. HRCP demands that the three persons who threatened the lawyer in the case are proceeded under the law without delay and effective measures are taken to ensure the defence lawyer’s security.”

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