Tag Archives: Pakistan

Afghan Lawyer Latifa Sharifi Selected Recipient of the 2021 UIA/LexisNexis Rule of Law Award

27/09/21

Ms Latifa Sharifi, an Afghan lawyer of the Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA), a historic Afghan women’s association, was designated recipient of the 2021 UIA Rule of Law Award in cooperation with LexisNexis by the UIA Governing Board.


Ms. Sharifi was among the three Finalists of the Award selected by the Nomination Committee, along with prominent human rights lawyers Mohamed El-Baqer (Egypt) and Saif Ul-Malook (Pakistan), both of whom have consistently demonstrated unrelenting dedication and commitment to upholding the Rule of Law and human rights, despite overwhelming personal and professional hardships, including great risk to their personal safety and that of their families.

As a lawyer, Ms Latifa Sharifi particularly assisted women victims of domestic violence in divorce proceedings and helped them find refuge. Because of her defense of women, Ms Sharifi has repeatedly been threatened and intimidated because of her professional activities, and she has been forced to work clandestinely.

With this Award, UIA and LexisNexis recognize Ms. Sharifi’s courageous commitment to ensuring effective access to justice to women, a commitment for which she is regrettably in imminent danger of retaliation.

Ms Sharifi was refouled at Kabul airport on Sunday, August 15, where she went with her husband and her three children, in an attempt to flee abroad. Her youngest child was injured in the process of trying to escape the airport. Ms Sharifi is currently hiding, and she and her family remain in grave danger. 

[…]

https://www.uianet.org/en/news/afghan-lawyer-latifa-sharifi-selected-recipient-2021-uialexisnexis-rule-law-award

https://patrick-henry.avocats.be/?q=node/518 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.actu-juridique.fr/administratif/libertes-publiques-ddh/afghanistan-il-faut-nous-sauver-de-cette-terreur-supplient-avocats-et-magistrats-menaces-par-les-talibans/

(ITALIANO)

https://portalegiovani.comune.fi.it/urlnews/webzine/40602.html

https://www.ildubbio.news/2021/08/30/ora-salviamo-gli-avvocati-e-magistrati-afghani-pericolo/

Pakistan: Lawyer Khadija Siddiqui fearful for her life after shots fired by unknown persons outside Lahore home

14/08/21

Khadija Siddiqui. — Photo courtesy Shafaq n Kami Studios

Lawyer Khadija Siddiqui, who was stabbed 23 times by her classmate back in 2016, on Saturday said that she fears for her life, after shots were fired by unknown people outside her home in Lahore’s Gulberg area. 

Khadija has filed a complaint with the police, at the Gulberg police station.

“I was alone at home when I heard someone fire shots. When I went outside, I saw a bullet hole in the car’s bonnet,” she stated in the complaint.

She recalled how on May 3, 2016, she was attacked, and provided a case reference number (330/16), which was filed at the Civil Lines police station.

“My life is in danger. I demand legal action,” Khadija further said in her complaint.

Speaking to Geo News, Khadija said that the shots were loud enough for her to think that they were fired from inside her house.

The lawyer drew attention to what she said was a promise made Punjab Minister for Prisons Fayyazul Hassan Chohan that if her life is threatened, he will file a complaint himself.

Meanwhile, her father, Ahmed Siddiqui, told Geo News that he was not at home when the incident occurred.

“When I returned I saw Khadija distraught. She told me someone had fired shots at our house,” he said.

[…]

https://www.geo.tv/latest/365348-lawyer-khadija-siddiqui-fearful-for-her-life-after-shots-fired-by-unknown-persons-outside-lahore-home

https://www.dawn.com/news/1640640/khadija-siddiqui-unharmed-after-unidentified-assailants-open-fire-at-her-car-in-lahore

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Persecuted Pakistani Christian couple flee to Europe

12/08/21

Persecuted Pakistani Christian couple flee to Europe

The Christian Pakistani couple Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, who recently became acquitted of blasphemy, Pakistan has fled. Their lawyer reports that the prosecutor in the case will appeal in cassation to have the couple sentenced to death for insulting the prophet Mohammed.

The couple had been detained on suspicion of blasphemy since 2013 and were acquitted on appeal by the Lahore court two months ago. The verdict was that there was not enough evidence. Then, after eight years in different prisons, they were reunited with each other and their children.

Now that it has become clear that the prosecutor has gone to the Supreme Court, the Help for Persecuted Christians (HVC) foundation has announced that the family has been brought to safety in a European country. Which country that is, is not said for security reasons. Shagufta Kausar’s brother, who lives in the Netherlands, tells the NOS that they are indeed safe.

Asian Aunt

HVC director Jan Dirk van Nifterik: “We are happy and grateful that the family was able to leave Pakistan before they were arrested again. If they had to wait for the appeal, it could take years again.” According to HVC, the family is doing well under the circumstances and wants to build a new life in Europe.

The couple says through the foundation that they are grateful for all the efforts of security services, judges in Pakistan and aid organizations that have helped them. Lawyer Saif-ul-Malook, who previously assisted the refugee Asia Bibi, is also thanked.

Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi was acquitted in a similar case in 2018, after which Muslim extremists started a manhunt for her and her family. Although she was free to leave Pakistan, she was unable to do so for a long time. Lawyer Saif-ul-Malook finally announced in May 2019 that she to Canada had fled.

https://www.paudal.com/2021/08/12/persecuted-pakistani-christian-couple-flee-to-europe/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa33/4401/2021/en/

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

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/aug/12/pakistan-police-drop-blasphemy-charges-against-boy-8

(FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affaire_Asia_Bibi

https://nos.nl/artikel/2393597-vervolgd-pakistaans-christelijk-echtpaar-vlucht-naar-europa (NEDERLANDS)

https://www.rd.nl/artikel/938894-vrijspraak-pakistaans-christelijk-echtpaar-aangevochten-stel-vlucht-naar-europa

Pakistan: Lawyers demand action on Quetta bombing commission report

09/08/21

Ahsan Bhoon demands action on Quetta bombing commission report

Quetta Bar Association and lawyers from other parts of country held  a condolence reference in memory of martyrs of the August 8 Quetta attack. Asma Jahangir’s Independent Group presidential candidate Ahsan Bhoon paid rich tributes to lawyers who were martyred on August 8, 2016. He expressed his serious concern over  non-implementation of commission report on the Quetta bombing and all promises made by the provincial government to the families of the slain lawyers.

Ahsan demanded the government to immediate implement the commission report on Quetta carnage that deprived Balochistan of senior lawyers. SCBA President Ahsan Bhoon said that August 8 Quetta carnage was against the sovereignty of the country and lawyers community. He said that the carnage had deprived  Balochistan of senior lawyers, creating a gap that could not be filled up for a long time. While addressing the lawyers, Ahsan Bhoon said, “we have a comprehensive plan for the welfare of Balochistan lawyers and we will try our best that the lawyers who belong to  Balochistan province should be given all facilities and sources that were provided to the lawyers of other provinces.” He assured that black coats from Balochistan would be given priority to become lawyers in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Bhoon said that Asma Jahangir Group believes in prosperity and welfare of lawyers and there should be effective representation of Balochistan lawyers in judiciary. 

https://nation.com.pk/09-Aug-2021/ahsan-bhoon-demands-action-on-quetta-bombing-commission-report

https://www.dawn.com/news/1639508

https://www.dawn.com/news/1639458/the-long-shadows-of-a-tragedy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_2016_Quetta_attacks

Pakistan: European lawyers call for increased security for endangered lawyer Saif-ul-Malook

02/04/21

No photo description available.

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/pakistani-policeman-kills-man-cleaver-over-blasphemy

(ITALIANO)
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Pakistan: ‘I Fear For My Life After Freeing Death Row Christians,’ Says Pakistani Lawyer

30/06/21

‘I Fear For My Life After Freeing Death Row Christians,’ Says Pakistani Lawyer

Saif Malook left Pakistan’s Lahore High Court with his head held high on June 3.

He had secured freedom for his clients, Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel, impoverished Pakistani Christians sentenced to death for blasphemy. Their convictions had just been overturned on appeal.

But almost immediately, Malook’s smile faded as extremists took to social media with threats to end his life.

“They called me an agent of the Jews, and many of the threats the Pakistani government determined to be credible,” he said from his home in Lahore.

“They even post pictures of the two judges who heard the case and declared them infidels too. This could have long-term implications. Judges will be scared after seeing this.”

While Malook, a Muslim, accepts the consequences of his work as one of the last lawyers willing to represent Christians on blasphemy charges, the impact spreads to his wife, a mathematics college professor, and his 15-year-old daughter in high school, both of whom also endure public taunts.

“My neighbors won’t talk to me; members of my family hate me too,” Malook said. “But I am working for these helpless people (Christians) because it is the right thing to do.”

His security situation has become more perilous in recent weeks after the courts overturned the death sentences of Kausar and Emmanuel.

The Christian couple was convicted in 2014 of disparaging the Prophet Muhammad, a severe crime under blasphemy legislation that prohibits the “act of expressing contempt or a lack of reverence for God or sacred things.” The crime carries the death sentence under Pakistani law, although capital punishment has never actually been carried out.

[…]

Appeal to the international community

Though Malook has devoted much of his professional life to those in dire judicial need in his home country, he is now making an appeal to the international community in the hope of securing a haven in the West.

Asia Bibi was granted asylum in Canada after Saif Malook got her conviction overturned in 2018. Hers is the most high-profile case involving Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. (Aid to the Church in Need)

“I would like to join Asia (Bibi) and her family in Canada,” Malook said. “My only wish now is to be able to spend my last years in peace.”

Despite the death threats, Malook, who earned his degree specializing in criminal law at the University of Punjab, Lahore, in 1980, is continuing the pursuit of justice while appealing to Western nations for further help.

“No other lawyers want to take on these cases — no person has a life hereafter taking on blasphemy cases, and there is no money in it. Those accused are very, very poor,” he said.

“The whole time, you are under threat, even from normal people who tell me I am supporting those who commit blasphemy.”

[…]

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/2021/june/pakistani-court-upholds-life-sentence-against-christian-man-in-blasphemy-case

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

Pakistan: Lahore High Court points to several defects in blasphemy case

24/06/21

lahore high court photo lhc gov pk

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has issued its detailed judgment on the appeal of a Christian couple, who were acquitted of blasphemy charges through a summary order earlier this month after spending eight years in jail.

In the judgment, the court has expressed dismay that the additional sessions judge decided the case in a “slipshod manner”. It set aside the Christian couple’s conviction on the grounds of delay in registration of FIR, non-fulfilment of the requirements of confessional statement and not-establishment of motive, etc.

On April 4, 2014, an additional district and sessions judge in Toba Tek Singh had awarded death sentence and a fine of Rs100,000 each to Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Masih under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), read with Section 34, for sending blasphemous messages on the phone.

An LHC division bench, comprising Justice Shahbaz Ali Rizvi and Justice Tariq Saleem Sheikh, heard the appeal for three straight days and on June 3. The bench allowed the appeal, saying that the prosecution had failed to establish the case against the couple beyond doubt.

“In the instant case, on reappraisal of evidence, we have come to an ineluctable conclusion that the prosecution has failed to establish the charge against the appellants (Christian couple),” read the 25-page judgment, authored by Justice Sheikh.

“We are dismayed that the learned Additional Sessions Judge has decided the case in a slipshod manner. We allow this appeal and set aside the impugned judgment dated 4.4.2014. The appellants are acquitted of the charge,” read the judgment.

[…]

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2306906/lhc-points-to-several-defects-in-blasphemy-case

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/pakistan-lawyer-asia-bibi-threat-life-acquits-christian-couple-1817855-2021-06-22

(FRANCAIS)

https://fr.zone-secure.net/109394/1367587/#page=9

Pakistan: Pakistani lawyer who represented Asia Bibi says he faces threats to his life

22/06/21

Saif ul Malook represented Asia Bibi in a blasphemy case that rocked Pakistan

A Pakistani lawyer who has successfully overturned a number of convictions for “blasphemy” has said he believes his life is in danger from extremists.

Saif ul Malook most recently oversaw the acquittal of a Christian couple who had been sentenced to death.

Mr Malook shared social media posts with the BBC which called for him to be “executed” for securing the acquittal.

Blasphemy is a deeply emotive topic in Muslim-majority Pakistan and is legally punishable by death.

While no one has ever been executed for the offence, dozens of people accused of blaspheming have been killed by vigilantes.

Human rights groups say the country’s blasphemy laws often unfairly target religious minorities and can be used in personal feuds.

Earlier this month, the high court in Lahore quashed the convictions of Christian couple Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel, citing a lack of evidence.

The pair were sentenced to death in 2014 for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages insulting the Prophet Muhammad. They insisted they were innocent. Ms Kausar’s brother told the BBC last year he doubted the couple were literate enough even to have written the messages.

The couple’s lawyer, Mr Malook, previously also represented Asia Bibi, a Christian villager who spent eight years on death row in a case that attracted international condemnation.

[…]

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57516630

https://news.yahoo.com/pakistani-lawyer-represented-asia-bibi-095426294.html

https://patrick-henry.avocats.be/?q=node/511 (ATTACHMENT IN ENGLISH)

http://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/12255/20210616/christian-couple-who-escaped-death-row-following-acquittal-over-blasphemy-charges-now-facing-threats-from-pakistani-muslims.htm

https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/acquitted-christian-couple-attorney-in-pakistan-fear-for-their-lives.html

https://www.ucanews.com/news/call-for-security-for-pakistani-blasphemy-lawyer-after-threats/92862

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

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

https://patrick-henry.avocats.be/?q=node/511 (FRANCAIS)

(RUSSIAN)

Pakistan: Lawyer’s murder triggers protest in Bannu

15/06/21

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Members of the legal fraternity staged a demonstration outside the Bannu Press Club following the murder of a senior lawyer on Monday.

Two unknown motorcyclists killed Bashir Rehman Barki Advocate near the judicial complex when he was returning home.

The police said the body was shifted to the district headquarters hospital for autopsy.

A large number of lawyers also reached the hospital, took the body to the press club where they held a demonstration, blocking the busy road.

Speaking on the occasion, Bannu bar president Noorzada Ahmadzai, general secretary Inamullah Khan and other members said safety of lawyers had become a question mark on the tall claims of the government as targeting of members of legal fraternity had become a routine in the country.

They said the deceased had no enmity with anyone.

They asked Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to take practical steps for provision of foolproof security to lawyers.

They announced a three-day mourning and boycott of courts against the killing. Later, the protesters ended the road blockade, and the deceased was buried in a local graveyard.

[…]

https://www.dawn.com/news/1629385/lawyers-murder-triggers-protest-in-bannu

https://thefrontierpost.com/phcba-demands-passing-of-lawyer-protection-act/

June 14 2021

PRESS RELEASE

Mr. Khush Dil Khan, Vice-Chairman and Mr. Muhammad Faheem Wali, Chairman, Executive Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council, have strongly condemned the target killing of Mr. Bashir-ur-Rehman Barki, Advocate, Supreme Court at Bannu Judicial complex today, and utter failure of the law enforcement agencies and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government, maintaining and improving the law and order situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to provide safety and security to innocent citizens in general & especially the Advocates of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and to control the target killing of Advocates.

They have urged upon the Federal and Provincial Governments as well as the I.G. Police, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for improving the law and order situation in and arrround the Courts premises and in the Country & to arrest the culprits immediately and award them exemplary punishment.

In condemnation of the aforesaid brutal murder and target killing and expressing solidarity with the family members of the bereaved Advocate, they have fully supported the strike call of KP Bar Council for tomorrow, the 15th June, 2021 in Khyber Palhtunkhwa.

ACTING SECRETARY

PAKISTAN BAR COUNCIL

(Pakistan Bar Council Facebook, 14/06/21)

Pakistan: Extremists accused of inciting millions to hunt down Christian couple & kill their lawyer

11/06/21

Islamists from leading religious parties in Pakistan stand accused of inciting millions to kill a Christian couple and their lawyer…

Saif ul Malook, who last week triumphed in the case of Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel Masih, said influential Muslim hardliners have taken to social media to call on supporters to “conquer (i.e. kill)” both him and the couple.

Speaking today (Friday, 11th June) under tight security from Pakistan, Mr ul Malook told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which campaigns for persecuted Christians, that he stood accused of “collaborating” with blasphemers, a capital offence for Islamists.

Mr ul Malook was acting for the couple on 3rd June when Lahore High Court overturned a 2014 judgement which found them guilty in connection with text messages allegedly disrespectful to the Muslim Prophet Mohammad and in breach of Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws.

He said since last week’s acquittal the couple’s joy has turned to fear amid growing fears for their lives, a threat, he said, that was likely to grow in the coming days as the as yet unconfirmed date of their release from jail grows near.

Mr ul Malook said: “The messages in Urdu language on Twitter and other social media are very clear: Saif ul Malook, Shagufta and Shafqat should be killed. They need to be eliminated. It is very dangerous.”

He added: “These messages from very influential Islamists belonging to religious parties are prompting ordinary people – millions of them – telling them that they will go to paradise if they kill me, Shagufta and Shafqat. For poor people, who are uneducated, this is a very big incentive.”

ACN also spoke to Shagufta’s brother, Joseph, who said: “All the family and I are very worried for Shagufta, Shafqat, her husband, and Saif ul Malook. The threats against them have to be taken seriously. Even in the prison there is a risk of them being shot or poisoned.”

Mr ul Malook said he is also being targeted as he had acted in the case of Asia Bibi, another Christian, whose blasphemy conviction was also overturned on appeal, sparking countrywide demonstrations.

He said he predicted wider disruption when Shagufta and Shafqat are released from jail than in October 2018 when protestors ground the country to a standstill after Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted Asia Bibi.

Mr ul Malook said: “I would say I am more afraid now than when Asia Bibi was acquitted. Back then, nobody was putting such strong messages on social media inciting the people.”

[…]

https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/42400

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