Justice for Junaid Hafeez

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A district and sessions court on Saturday 21st December 2019 has sentenced Junaid Hafeez, a former university lecturer in Multan, to death on false blasphemy charges.

Formerly a visiting lecturer at the Department of English Literature of the Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Multan, Hafeez was booked on blasphemy charges and was arrested by police on March 13, 2013. The trial of the case started in 2014.

According to Amnesty International, Hafeez, who was also in the process of getting a graduate degree in English Literature, was charged with blasphemy over Facebook uploads.

Junaid Hafeez is from Rajanpur, Pakistan. He is an F.Sc Gold Medalist Junaid bid farewell to studying medicine at the King Edward Medical College after his first year of MBBS and entered BZU to pursue a degree in English literature.

At the BZU, he stood first, shattering a 38-year-old record by scoring a 3.99 GPA in BA Honours.

Junaid was one of five Pakistani students selected under the Fulbright Scholarship Programme to complete their Masters from the United States.

He was serving as a visiting lecturer at the English Department of Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan (Pakistan) when in 2013, he was accused of blasphemy by the students of the extremist Islami Jamiat Tulaba and Tehrik-Tahafuz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat groups. It is no secret that this accusation had "something" to do with Junaid's impending promotion to Assistant Professor that these political groups wanted to block.

The accusation had no backing evidence and was clearly cooked up, but for this Junaid has been languishing in jail, rarely allowed to have visitors Hafeez has faced a hard time finding a lawyer to defend him as the public in Pakistan views negatively anyone who defends someone accused of blasphemy. His original lawyer Mudassar left the case in June 2013 after facing a multitude of death threats. then took on the case.

Facing a multitude of death threats himself, Rehman commented to BBC that it was like "walking into the jaws of death" to defend someone accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. A hearing for Hafeez was held on April 3, 2014, at Multan Central Jail and Rehman was told that he would not live to attend the next hearing by the prosecuting attorneys. Despite these threats being made in front of the presiding Judge, no charges were brought against them. On May 7, two men walked into Rehman's office in Multan and shot him to death before leaving the scene. The crime remains unsolved as of November 15, 2014.

Hafeez is represented by Shahbaz Gurmani as of December 2014; Gurmani has also received death threats including an incident where guns were fired outside of his home. Shahbaz Ali Khan Gurmani known as Shahbaz Gurmani is also the lawyer of other blasphemy accused persons. He is working on the Platform of New Vision Foundation, Multan for the protection of Human Rights.