Target: Minister of Justice, Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillan
Goal: Investigate the murder of human rights activist Rashid Rehman
The government of Pakistan must immediately investigate the killing of a prominent human rights activist. The government should also do all it can to ensure an impartial investigation into the killing and responsibly prosecute those involved. Human rights activist and lawyer Rashid Rehman was killed in early March, ostensibly due to his work representing people who had been charged under Pakistan’s blasphemy law. This horrendous act should be further proof that the blasphemy law is a violation of international human rights law and must be repealed.
Two unidentified gunmen killed Mr. Rehman in his office in the Punjab province. He had received multiple threats against his life in the weeks preceding the murder. The most recent threats came because he was defending Junaid Hafeez, a professor who was facing prosecution for blasphemy.
It is a terrible injustice that those who practice their freedom of expression and those who protect them are targeted for violence. The government rarely brings charges against those who commit acts of violence against people accused of blasphemy. Part of this is due to the fact that the blasphemy law is used primarily against members of religious minorities who are viewed as second-class citizens. The government must do more to protect those involved in blasphemy cases and the Pakistani authorities would do well by starting with an impartial investigation into the killing of Rashid Rehman. Sign this petition to call for an immediate and impartial investigation by the judicial authorities in Pakistan.
Dear Minister Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillan,
The recent murder of activist and human rights lawyer Rashid Rehman is a tragedy. I ask that you immediately open an impartial investigation into his death. There are reasons to believe that the murder of Mr. Rehman was due to his legal work done on behalf of those accused of blasphemy. This horrendous act should be further proof that the blasphemy law is a violation of international human rights law and must be repealed.
The blasphemy law also encourages some individuals to commit horrendous acts of violence. I ask that you revisit the blasphemy law and strike it from the code of law so as to prevent further killings. Doing so would bring your country into better favor with the international community. I urge you to immediately investigate this killing so as to bring positive change to Pakistan.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: International Rivers via Flickr