HRCP lawyer shot dead in Multan
MULTAN: Senior lawyer Rashid Rehman Khan, Special Task Force Coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, was killed and two other people were injured in an attack at the HRCP office near Kutchery Chowk on Wednesday night.
Mr Khan was in the office along with a colleague, Advocate Nadeem Parvaz, and assistant Afzal Hussain when the attackers shot at them. They were taken to the Nishtar Hospital by Rescue 1122 staff, but Mr Khan was pronounced dead by doctors. Mr Parvaz was in critical condition.
Rashid Rehman had submitted an application last month to the District Bar Association president, police and the district administration, stating that he had been warned by two lawyers and two other people not to appear in a blasphemy case.
He had also informed the judge conducting the trial about the threats. However, SSP (Operations) Shaukat Abbas told reporters that the police had not received any application from Mr Khan.
Mr Khan, in his early 50s, was son of the late Ashfaque Ahmed Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Vietnam during the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif sought a report from the province’s police chief and ordered immediate arrest of those involved in the attack.
According to AFP, the deceased was representing a lecturer of the Bahauddin Zakariya University who had been accused of blasphemy in March last year. The case had been registered after pressure from right-wing student groups, said a student.
An official at the HRCP said no lawyer was prepared to take up the case for a year over fears of attacks from extremist religious groups.
But Rashid Rehman, who was a rights activist, decided to defend the accused.
During the first hearing in March, which took place inside a prison for security reasons, the lawyer received threats from the team representing the complainant.
“During the hearing the lawyers of the complainant told Rehman that he wouldn’t be present at the next hearing as he would not be alive,” said the HRCP in a statement in March.
According to the HRCP, he had been threatened in the presence of the judge.
According to AP, a senior police officer, Mahmoodul Hassan, said the lawyer had been receiving threats from unknown persons since February, when he decided to represent the university teacher in the case.