A Travesty trial of Junaid Hafeez!
On December 21st, 2019, the young university academic Junaid Hafeez, was sentenced to death by a court in the city of Multan, Pakistan. The main charge, according to the prosecutor, was blasphemy by insulting the prophet, Muhammad. To be executed in Pakistan today is easy. To this day the Pakistan government has imposed a total of 27 offenses punished by death, and it is estimated that 490 people have been executed since 2014.
After his conviction in 2013, Junaid Hafeez was placed in solitary confinement. Today, he suffers the evident psychological effects from this cruel punishment, says his lawyer Abdul Ahad. He had not a fair trial, and there is strong evidence revealing that the charges against him were bogus. He was accused of using a fake Facebook account to make comments against the Islam. The day Junaid was sentenced to death, officials of the court and the prosecutor celebrated the decision with pastries and candies.
Junaid was a brilliant student at the prestigious King Edward Medical University, in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. However, after two years there he discovered his real passion in life for Literature. In 2006 he decided to come to the United States to complete his studies at the Jackson State University, in Mississippi. He was deeply influenced by the ideals of liberty and democracy granted in our Constitution. When he was back to Pakistan, he got a position in his former university in Multan, as a guest lecturer in the Faculty of Literature of the Bahauddin Zakariya University.
His advocacy for a secular space in his faculty, where his students could speak out their minds, made Junaid Hafeez a mortal enemy and an easy target for the powerful Islamic student federation which had taken control of most of the academic institutions by then. The Islamic group organized demonstrations burning pictures of Junaid and demanding the government to execute him by hanging. His family was terrorized and isolated. When the government arrested him in 2013, no real investigation was ever carried out to find the real authors of the fake Facebook profile.
Due to the brutal intimidation by the Islamic mob and the government the first lawyer of Junaid Hafeez renounced. Then the well-known lawyer and human rights activist Rashid Rehman, took his legal defense and made the following comment to the BBC: “Taking his defense was like walking into the jaws of death.” On May 7, 2014 the premonition of this brave lawyer became true when two hit men gunned him down in his own office.
The case of Junaid Hafeez is just the top of the iceberg and the latest example of the deep injustice in the judicial system of Pakistan. Although most people follow the Islamic religion, the country has significant communities of Buddhist, Christians and Hindus among others. Nevertheless, Pakistan has a terrible record on dealing with minorities. As in most Islamic nations, women are a main target of abuse and violence; “Honor” killings, forced marriages with girls and massive rapes are very common events.
With more than 213 million inhabitants, Pakistan is the second most populated Islamic nation in the world, just after Indonesia. Pakistan became an independent state in 1947, when it seceded from India. In 1956 Pakistan became an Islamic republic. Some remarkable Pakistanis state leaders have tried hard in the past to integrate Pakistan to the rest of the world; however, the intolerance of the Islamic state ideology dominates most of the government institutions today.
The fact that Pakistan was rewarded with a seat at the Human Rights Council of the United Nations for the period 2018-2020, is another sad example of the moral bankruptcy of this United Nations, dominated by the globalist agenda and the left. With notorious dictatorships like Cuba, Venezuela, el Congo and Pakistan giving us lectures on human rights we should refer to this organization as the Little Shop of Horrors. That is the reason why the administration of President Donald Trump announced its withdrawal from the U.N. Human Rights Council in June 2018.
The case of Junaid Hafeez is just a symbol of the suffering that today the people of Pakistan have to pay as a result of the reinforcement of Islamic laws imposed since the 1980’s. Whatever the moral crime that Junaid Hafeez has committed by expressing his thoughts, he already paid too much for it. After the horror of this 7-year solitary confinement, Hafeez should be released immediately and unconditionally from this torment. The Pakistan government most guaranty safety conditions to the legal team of Junaid Hafeez and restitution for moral and material damages to his family.