Tag Archives: Pakistan

Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Junaid Hafeez: Why is Pakistani scholar’s blasphemy case receiving scant attention?

October 7, 2019

Human rights organizations are demanding the release of a 33-year-old university lecturer who has been in solitary confinement since 2014. His family told DW the blasphemy allegations were fabricated by Islamists.

Junaid Hafeez, a Pakistan lecturer in jail on blasphemy charges

Amnesty International last week demanded that Pakistani authorities immediately and unconditionally release Junaid Hafeez, a 33-year-old lecturer at the Bahauddin Zakariya University in the eastern city of Multan.

In 2013, Hafeez was charged in a blasphemy case over a Facebook page. The young lecturer has been held in solitary confinement since June 2014. If convicted, he faces the death penalty under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws.

The US government has also urged Pakistani authorities to free Hafeez, with Vice President Mike Pence explicitly mentioning the lecturer’s ordeal in a July statement.

Read more: Hindus fear for their lives after Pakistan blasphemy riots

Hafeez’s ordeal

In 2010, Hafeez, a resident of Rajanpur town in Punjab province, returned to Pakistan to teach English literature at the Bahauddin Zakariya University after finishing his studies in the US. At the time of his arrest, he was already a Fulbright scholar and was appreciated for his academic work.

Hafeez’s father told DW that his son was a victim of university politics, as he was disliked by an Islamist student organization because of his liberal views.

“In 2013, the university advertised a post for a lecturer. The members of the Islamist Jamiat-e-Talaba organization told him to not apply for the job as they wanted their own people to get it,” said Hafeez-ul Naseer.

“The group launched a malicious campaign against my son, distributing pamphlets and accusing him of blasphemy. They said he was an American agent,” Naseer said.

“My son, who came back from the US to serve his country, was later arrested by police on blasphemy charges,” he added.

The ordeal of Hafeez’s family continued even after his arrest. No lawyer in Multan city wanted to take up his case.

Blasphemy is a sensitive topic in Pakistan, where 97% of its 180 million inhabitants are Muslim. Rights activists have demanded reforms of controversial blasphemy laws, which were introduced by the Islamic military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s. Activists say the laws have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes and personal vendettas.

According to rights groups, around 1,549 blasphemy cases have been registered in Pakistan between 1987 and 2017. More than 75 people have been killed extra-judicially on blasphemy allegations. Some of them were even targeted after being acquitted in blasphemy cases by courts.

“Finally, Rashid Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan took up my son’s case, but he was gunned down on May 7, 2014 in his office,” Naseer said.

Hafeez has been languishing in jail ever since. His father said the family has been living under constant fear as they could also be targeted by extremists.

https://www.dw.com/en/junaid-hafeez-why-is-pakistani-scholars-blasphemy-case-receiving-scant-attention/a-50722310

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/09/pakistan-authorities-immediately-unconditionally-release-junaid-hafeez/

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/pakistan-lecturer-accused-blasphemy-facebook-posts-must-be-released

https://www.dawn.com/news/1504700

https://thediplomat.com/2019/08/the-defiance-of-pakistani-atheists/

https://www.geo.tv/latest/251407-injustice-by-law-the-case-of-junaid-hafeez

https://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/pakistani-lawyer-rashid-rehman-murdered-after-taking-on-blasphemy-case-9341021.html

https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/05/14/pakistan-investigate-killing-rights-lawyer

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/opinion/why-pakistans-blasphemy-law-must-be-abolished/

https://www.dawn.com/news/1495127

https://www.businesstoday.in/current/world/pakistan-misses-22-out-of-27-fatf-targets-but-evades-black-list-for-now/story/385456.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashid_Rehman

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/pakistan-10th-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-2020-24-01-2020-with-the-focus-on-pakistan-a-struggle-to-protect-pakistani-lawyers-especially-against-islamic-fundamentalism-and-terrorism-basic-repo/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-global-bodies-worry-over-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

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https://www.amnesty.org/fr/latest/news/2019/09/pakistan-authorities-immediately-unconditionally-release-junaid-hafeez/ (FRANCAIS)

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Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Lawyer Saeed Khan murdered

October 15, 2019

No photo description available.

(Pakistan Bar Council Facebook, 15/10/19)

https://www.facebook.com/PakistanBarCouncil/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/pakistan-10th-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-2020-24-01-2020-with-the-focus-on-pakistan-a-struggle-to-protect-pakistani-lawyers-especially-against-islamic-fundamentalism-and-terrorism-basic-repo/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-global-bodies-worry-over-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

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Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Days After Chanting Anti-army Slogans, Senior Pakistani Lawyer ‘Kidnapped’ in Lahore

October 14, 2019

Kashif Ali Chaudhry was in a market at Thokar Niaz Baig area to purchase cable wire when unidentified persons on two vehicles overpowered Chaudhry, bundled him into a vehicle and fled away.

A senior lawyer of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party was allegedly “kidnapped” by some unidentified persons, according to a police complaint lodged by his brother, days after he led a group of advocates in chanting anti-army slogans during a court hearing of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a corruption case in Lahore.

PML-N Pakistan Lawyers Wing vice president Kashif Ali Chaudhry was visiting a market at Thokar Niaz Baig area to purchase cable wire when unidentified persons on two vehicles came there and stopped him, according to the complaint lodged by his brother Nazim Hussain at the Hanjarwal police station.

“The suspects overpowered Chaudhry and bundled him into a vehicle and fled away,” the complainant said.

A CCTV footage circulating on social media showed that masked men in civvies were holding Chaudhry and later shifted him to a vehicle.

Last week the PML-N leader had led a group of lawyers in chanting slogans against army generals during a hearing of three-time prime minister Sharif in the accountability court.

The video of the protest had gone viral.

Sources believe that action against Chaudhry has been taken in the light of the protest.

Sharif is serving a seven-year imprisonment in Al-Azizia corruption case. At present, he is in the custody of National Accountability Bureau in Lahore in the money laundering investigation.

https://www.news18.com/news/world/days-after-chanting-anti-army-slogans-senior-pakistani-lawyer-kidnapped-in-lahore-2345123.html

https://www.dawn.com/news/1510861/kidnapped-pml-n-lawyer-returns

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/senior-pakistan-lawyer-of-pml-n-kidnapped–watch-video/847080.html

https://www.dawn.com/news/1510782/pml-n-lawyers-wing-vp-kidnapped

PML-N lawyer’ wing VP abducted in Lahore

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/pakistan-10th-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-2020-24-01-2020-with-the-focus-on-pakistan-a-struggle-to-protect-pakistani-lawyers-especially-against-islamic-fundamentalism-and-terrorism-basic-repo/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-global-bodies-worry-over-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

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No photo description available.

(Sindh Bar Council Facebook, 15/10/19)

Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Lawyer Kashif Qanoondan abducted

October 13, 2019

Punjab Bar Council

The Punjab Bar Council strongly condemns the abduction of Ch. Kashif Qanoondan by the security agencies without any legal justification and commission of offence. This act of the security agencies is highly condemnable because the security agencies are present for the protection of public and not to cause terror and harassment to the public. The Punjab Bar Council demands the Govt and high officials of the security agencies to make sure that Ch. Kashif Qanoondan advocate be released forthwith otherwise lawyer’s community of Punjab will take their own course of action in next 24 hours..

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-global-bodies-worry-over-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/06/22/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-january-24-2020-pakistan/

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

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Pakistan: 10th DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER 2020 (24-01-2020) WITH THE FOCUS ON PAKISTAN: A struggle to protect Pakistani lawyers, especially against Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism — BASIC REPORT

October 9, 2019

Background

Over the past several years lawyers in Pakistan have been subjected to acts of mass terrorism, murder, attempted murder, assaults, (death) threats, contempt proceedings, harassment and intimidation in the execution of their professional duties.  They have also been arrested, detained or tortured, and in some cases the family members of the murdered lawyer have also been murdered.  Some lawyers have been threatened with disbarment or had their homes raided by the police.  Sometimes Christian lawyers or members of minority sects have been assaulted or threatened with death.  The most notorious attack on Pakistani lawyers occurred on August 8, 2016 when terrorists attacked the Government Hospital of Quetta with a suicide bombing and shooting which resulted in the death of 56 lawyers.  Since there has been an alarming increase in the number of lawyers murdered, with nine reported over the past year.  More recently Saif-ul-Malook received serious death threats for representing Asia Bibi, who had been sentenced to death for blasphemy, as a result of which he was forced to flee temporarily to the Netherlands.

The perpetrators of these attacks have been terrorists, religious zealots, the police and unreported sources. There have also been reports that pro-government militias (which still exist today) have been behind some of the murders, and in some cases lawyers have been killed because they are Shia. In response to these repeated attacks, Pakistani lawyers frequently strike, demonstrate, protest and hold boycotts.

The life of an Advocate is at risk the moment he or she takes up a case. It does not matter if it is the opposing party or the very party that the lawyer is representing.

By its constitution of 1956, the official name of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. More than 96% of Pakistan’s 197 million citizens (2017) are Muslims, and Islam is the state religion, the overwhelming majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.  Pakistan  has also an important minority of Shi’ite Muslims as well as a number of other minority religions, including Christianity, whose followers are subjected to discrimination, violence and death, especially the misuse of blasphemy laws.  Among countries with a Muslim majority, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws.  The Pakistan Penal Code punishes blasphemy (Urdu: قانون توہین رسالت‎) against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death.  From 1967 to 2014, over 1,300 people were accused of blasphemy, with Muslims constituting most of those accused.  Between 1987 to 2017 at least 1,500 people were charged with blasphemy and at least 75 people involved in accusations of blasphemy were killed in Pakistan according to the Center for Social Justice.

Many people accused of blasphemy have been murdered before their trials were concluded, and prominent figures who opposed the blasphemy law have been assassinated.  In fact since 1990, 62 people have been murdered following blasphemy allegations.  According to one religious minority source, an accusation of blasphemy commonly exposes the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, attacks and rioting.

Violence and the threat of violence are omnipresent in Pakistan, and according to the Ministry of Interior terrorism poses a significant threat to the people of Pakistan. The current wave of terrorism is believed to have started in 2000 and peaked during 2009.  According to a 2018 report by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, 23,372 Pakistani civilians and 8,832 Pakistani security personnel had been killed in the war on terrorism.  Pakistan is said to be a safe haven for a number of terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, it has been accused of giving aid to the Taliban and hosting terrorist camps, and therefore it is responsible for state-sponsored or state-condoned terrorism.

Pakistani law is based upon the legal system of British India, thus ultimately on the Common Law of England and Wales.  There are six Bar Councils in Pakistan which came into being as a result of enactment of Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973. These Bar Councils regulate legal professionals across provincial, territorial and national levels.  They include the Bar Councils of: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Islamabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as the Pakistan Bar Council, the national Bar association.

The cases mentioned in this report have been documented by Pakistani lawyers, the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Zykyria Muiloo and the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE).

DOTEL2020Pakistan.BasicDocumentDraft.TS-SR.25.9.2019

https://defendlawyers.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/pakistan-day-of-the-endangered-lawyer-global-bodies-worry-over-pakistani-lawyers-safety/

https://concernedscientists.org/2019/10/pakistan-academic-still-incarcerated-for-blasphemy-for-the-past-five-years/

https://www.oneindia.com/india/no-escaping-pakistan-has-failed-to-curb-terror-funding-may-remain-in-greylist-2960748.html

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

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http://www.asianews.it/notizie-it/Asia-Bibi-parla-per-la-prima-volta:-Giustizia-per-le-vittime-innocenti-di-blasfemia-47895.html (ITALIANO)

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Pakistan/Day of the Endangered Lawyer: Alleged police highhandedness: KP lawyers observe strike

October 1, 2019

Lawyers continue strike, demand suspension of SDPO

The legal fraternity on Monday observed a strike across the province to protest the police officer’s highhandedness with a lawyer in Chitral district.

Like other parts of the province, the lawyers observed a strike in the provincial capital and sought action against a police officer in Booni Police, Rajab Ali. The lawyers observed the strike on the call of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Bar Council to condemn and protest the police officer’s alleged inhuman attitude to a senior lawyer.

In a statement, the KP Bar Council alleged that the police officer had illegally taken senior lawyer Syed Burhan Shah Advocate to his office, confined him illegally and tortured him physically and mentally. The bar council recalled that the same police officer had recently misbehaved with Saghir Khan Advocate, a former president, Swabi Bar Association.

In the statement, the bar council demanded a departmental inquiry against the police officers and sought punishment to him under the law. The bar council condemned, what it said was, brutal action of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police against the peaceful protesting doctors in Peshawar.

 

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/534455-alleged-police-highhandedness-kp-lawyers-observe-strike

Lawyers continue strike, demand suspension of SDPO

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/535999-lawyers-in-chitral-protest-torture-of-colleague

https://www.dawn.com/news/1508257

Strike held in KP against police manhandling of Chitrali lawyer

https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/06/pakistan-end-ordeal-blasphemy-defendants

https://www.dw.com/en/junaid-hafeez-why-is-pakistani-scholars-blasphemy-case-receiving-scant-attention/a-50722310

http://www.kpbarcouncil.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khyber_Pakhtunkhwa_Bar_Council

DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN

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#Strike….

The Punjab Bar Council strongly condemns the untoward incident that took place in Distt Hospital Toba Tek Singh, on the instigation of Medical Superintendent DHQ T T Singh, in which the officials of the DHQ illegally & immorally detained the President & lawyers of Bar Association T T Singh. In condemnation of the aforesaid act and showing solidarity with the aggrieved lawyers of Toba Tek Singh the lawyers of Faisalabad division will observe a full day strike on 03-10-2019.

Ch Shah Nawaz Ismail Gujjar
Vice Chairman
Punjab Bar Council

Iftikhar Ibrahim Qureshi
Chairman Executive Committee
Punjab Bar Council.

(Punjab Bar Council Facebook, 02/10/19)

The Punjab Bar Council strongly condemns the untoward incident that took place in Distt Hospital Toba Tek Singh, on the instigation of Medical Superintendent DHQ T T Singh, in which the officials of the DHQ illegally & immorally detained the President Bar Association T T Singh.
The Punjab Bar Council also condemns the illegal, immoral & disgraceful act of the M S DHQ which warrants a criminal as well as a departmental inquiry against the culprits.

Ch Shah Nawaz Ismail Gujjar
Vice Chairman
Punjab Bar Council

Iftikhar Ibrahim Qureshi
Chairman Executive Committee
Punjab Bar Council.

(Punjab Bar Council Facebook, 01/10/19)

 

Day of the Endangered Lawyer

India/Jammu & Kashmir: Kashmir’s crippled courts leave detainees in limbo

October 3, 2019

A Paramilitary trooper stands on guard during the shutdown in Srinagar. Kashmir valley remains shutdown for the 55th consecutive day following the scrapping of Article 370 by the central government which grants special status to Jammu & Kashmir

Thousands of people have been detained in Indian-administered Kashmir following a government move to strip the region of its special status. Worried family members have been flocking to the courts – but to little avail, reports BBC Hindi’s Vineet Khare.

Altaf Hussein Lone looked anxious as he sat on a red printed sofa in a large hall of the high court in Srinagar, the main city of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Since there is no public transport readily available, he had to pay an exorbitant amount to travel from his home in Baramulla, more than 50km (30 miles) away.

Life here has come to a standstill since the region lost its partial autonomy on 4 August. Internet and mobile phone connections remain suspended, roads and streets are largely deserted; and tens of thousands of extra troops have been deployed.

Despite government assurances that schools and offices can function normally, that has not happened. Most businesses have stayed shut as a form of protest against the government, but many owners also say they fear reprisals by militants opposed to Indian rule if they go back to business as usual.

Thousands of locals, including political leaders, businesspeople and activists, have been detained. Many have been moved to prisons outside the state.

Mr Lone was at the court looking for a lawyer to represent his brother, Shabbir, a village leader who had been arrested under the highly controversial Public Safety Act (PSA), which among other things, allows detention without formal charge for up to two years.

But he was unable to find one. Ironically, the lawyers of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association in Srinagar – a body representing more than 2,200 professionals – have been boycotting the courts for more than 50 days over the arrest of their present and former presidents, Mian Abdul Qauyoom and Nazeer Ahmed Ronga.

Both men were arrested under the PSA and sent to two different prisons in distant Uttar Pradesh state for “advocating secessionism” – a move that some lawyers describe as a “political vendetta”.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-49848899

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-arrests-under-psa-amount-to-thought-crime-say-kashmir-lawyers-as-100s-remain-under-detention/339932

IOK faces 53rd day of military lockdown

https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/crackdown-on-lawyers-narrows-road-to-justice-in-kashmir.637097/

https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/thousands-begin-freedom-march-pakistan-held-kashmir-toward-disputed-border-india

https://www.protect-lawyers.com/fr/jammu-cachemire-inde-mobilisation-des-avocats-contre-la-repression-dans-la-region-du-cachemire/ (FRANCAIS)

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