Multan, May 8 (Reuters): Gunmen posing as clients shot dead a prominent human rights lawyer defending a professor accused of blasphemy, officials said today.
Yesterday’s killing of Rashid Rehman in the southern city Multan was the first time a lawyer has been killed for taking on a blasphemy case, police said.
Rehman had been representing Junaid Hafeez, a lecturer in English accused by hardline student groups of making blasphemous remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in March last year.
Hafeez had been in prison without being able to find a lawyer until Rehman agreed to represent him in February.
Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan. The accused are often lynched or languish for years in jail without trial because lawyers are too afraid to defend them. Rights groups say the laws are used to seize property.
Pakistan today successfully test-fired the nuclear-capable short range Surface-to-Surface Hatf III (Ghaznavi) missile. It can accurately hit a target within 290km, the Pakistan army said.