Pakistan not a safe place for HR defenders
LAHORE: The Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE) has strongly condemned the assassination of the veteran human rights activist and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Coordinator in South Punjab Region Rashid Rehman in Multan on May 7 on Wednesday.
The CHRE in a press statement issued on Thursday said Rashid Rehman was getting life threats from religious fundamentalists for appearing as a counsel for the accused under Pakistan’s blasphemy law.
CHRE director Samson Salamat condoled with the victim’s family and termed the assassination of Rashid Rehman an irreparable loss for the human rights struggle in Pakistan. In his statement, Samson Salamat said, “Rashid Rehman’s assassination has once again proved the vulnerability of the human rights defenders in Pakistan and the government’s failure to provide safety and security to all those who speak for people’s rights and freedoms.
“It is very shameful that, despite open, repeated threats to the life of Rashid Rehman, the state machinery responsible to provide safety and security failed to save this great man’s life. The cold blooded murder of Rashid Rehman shows the strong prevalence of religious extremist groups who enjoy impunity,” Samson Salamat added.
Commenting on the threatening situation of human rights defenders in Pakistan, Samson Salamat said Pakistan is and has been a difficult place where the human rights defenders face a severe threatening situation which includes threat calls, monitoring of whereabouts, tapping of phone, registering of fabricated cases, forced disappearances, slander, stigmatization and ultimately killings.
Samson Salamat said the justice system of Pakistan should come forward and hold an impartial inquiry to expose as to why Rashid Rehman was not provided security despite his repeated applications to the Punjab police.
The killers should be apprehended by all means and brought to justice. The government should also inform the nation how it is going to deal with the religious extremists and fundamentalists who seem out of control and are killing innocent citizens like Rashid Rehman, Salamat said.
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