ISLAMABAD: A reference organised by the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the Aas Foundation on Wednesday to remember human rights lawyer Rashid Rahman, who was gunned down in Multan for defending an alleged Blasphemy accused, through a unanimous resolution called for nominating three lawyers in his murder case and also for implicating other officials for supporting the alleged killers.
“Advocates Zulfiqar Ali Siddhu, Sajad Chawan and Ayub Mughal be tried under murder charges,” the resolution said, adding that the three lawyers had threatened Rahman inside the courtroom on jail premises and in the presence of the judge.
Rights activist Tahira Abdullah said that Rahman fought hundreds of human rights cases. She said that time had come to define blasphemy. She said that 7,000 lawyers were practicing in Multan but that the widow of Rashid Rahman was not getting a single lawyer to prosecute the murder case.
She said that pamphlets were distributed not to attend Rahman’s funeral or defend his case. She said that we were succumbing to Wahabi-Salafi obscurantism.
Speaking on occasion, Sarwar Bari, National Coordinator, Pattan Development Foundation, said that Rashid Rahman firmly backed human rights issues and did not participate in bar politics, which could have compromised his human rights stance.
He said that we have to challenge the reactionary agenda and prick the balloon of intolerance. He said first accusing and then killing a person who himself was not alleged for blasphemy never happened earlier. He said that we should launch a campaign for Rashid Rahman’s case.
Dr Farzana Bari, Director Gender Studies at the Quaid-i-Azam University, said that we have carried enough dead bodies but that the state had neither will nor capacity to tackle the situation. She said that we would have to interlink all types of bodies spearheading human rights campaigns, as collective action was the only option left with us for our survival.
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