The Weekend Leader - Pak academic sentenced to death over blasphemy charges

Pak academic sentenced to death over blasphemy charges



A Pakistan court on Saturday sentenced Junaid Hafeez, a former university lecturer in Multan, to death on 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, Dawn news reported.

The trial of the case started in 2014.

Earlier this year, the academic's parents had appealed to former Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa to look into their son's case.

They had said their son had been languishing in solitary confinement in a cell of the Central Jail, Multan, for the last six years on the false charge of blasphemy.

Hafeez's previous lawyer, Rashid Rehman, was shot dead in May 2014 in his office. At least nine judges were transferred through the course of his case.

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence, said Dawn news.

Anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

In 2017, a mob in Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan beat student, Mashal Khan, to death after accusing him of blasphemy over social media.

Last year, the Supreme Court acquitted Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman earlier condemned to death on blasphemy charges, after accepting her appeal against her sentence.

So far, no one has been executed for blasphemy in the country.IANS 

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