ISLAMABAD - Condemning the assassination of Rashid Rehman, coordinator of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday demanded immediate arrest of the culprits and their colluders.
“It seems that the voices of reason, who speak up for justice and who speak up against bigotry and fanaticism, are being targeted one by one, and the state is a silent spectator. Unless the killers are not meted exemplary punishment, obscurants will continue to rule the street,” said Dr Nafisa Shah, central coordinator PPP, in a press release issued here.
Rehman defended human rights of victims of rape, torture, illegal custody, and of those who were wrongfully accused under discriminatory laws and this brutal attack on his life shows that no one who stands for a progressive and tolerant Pakistan is safe anymore. Salman Taseer was targeted by an assassin when he spoke up to defend Asia Bibi, a victim of blasphemy, and his killer is yet to be punished while Asia Bibi continues to languish in jail with no bail in sight.
The culprits who destroyed property in Joseph Colony are on bail while those who are wrongfully accused are facing death penalty.
“It is agreed by all that blasphemy laws are misused - especially against minorities - and we demand the ministry of law and justice to devise legal solutions and the parliament to constitute an all party’s caucus to suggest procedural amendments to prevent its misuse. Wrongful accusations of blasphemy must be meted exemplary punishments under the law,” adds Shah.
“At the same time, the judiciary must stand up for the people wrongfully accused instead of being intimidated into giving punishments against them. And most importantly the governments, federal and provincial, must make all efforts to take strict action against all the miscreants who instigate wrongful accusations of blasphemy.”