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Social media flared up against execution orders for Junaid Hafeez in blasphemy case

Social media disapproved of the decision of session and district Court Multan of the death penalty for academic Junaid Hafeez in the blasphemy case. Social media users have demanded the authorities to review the case who believe that the case is false and Junaid Hafeez was hounded in vengeance.

Junaid

Junaid Hafeez, a former academic of Bahauddin Zakariya University, is awarded the death sentence in a blasphemy case by Multan’s district and session court on Saturday, 21st December.

Hafeez, a former visiting lecturer in the Department of English Literature of BZU, was arrested by Police on blasphemy charges in March 2013. The trial of the case commenced in 2014. According to Amnesty International, Hafeez was pursuing his graduate degree in English literature and was arrested on Facebook uploads. A group of students forwarded blasphemy accusations against him.

The verdict in Junaid Hafeez’s case came six years after his imprisonment. His parents professed that their son went through extreme physical, psychological and emotional stress during his solitary confinement. They asserted that their multiple pleas to former Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa to review his case went in vain.

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Junaid, however, has denied these allegations on him. He added that a group of youth Islamist organization threatened him who disapproved of his liberal teachings. They even barred him for applying for a faculty position in the varsity.

Additional Session Judge Kashif Qayyum sentenced Hafeez to death and a fine of Rs.0.5 million under Section 295-C of the Pakistan penal code. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment under 295-B and 10-years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs.100,000 under Section 295-A of Pakistan Penal Code.

According to his parents, Hafeez was kept in solitary confinement in the high-security ward number 2 of New Central Jail, Multan. His previous lawyer, Rashid Rehman, was shot dead in 2014 by unidentified assailants in his office. At least, nine judges have been transferred throughout this case.

The latest decision has spurred two-pronged reactions on social media; with some supporting the decision while his empathizers described it a ploy weaved against him by his ‘jealous’ colleagues.

Condemnations from his advocates have poured in on from Twitter who believes he was falsely roped in the blasphemy case. Social media users argued that incessant imploration of his parents to review his case was ignored by the justice system of Pakistan.

According to a few news reports on social media, Junaid Hafeez committed blasphemy privately. His speech on a secret online forum was not available to Police. He was coerced under pressure to share private conservation with Police. But there was no court order required to share or reveal his private speech.

The social rights activist blasted at the judiciary of Pakistan for repudiating the barbarianism of the lawyer community at the Pakistan Institute of Cardiology in Lahore. They have called out government authorities to condemn the decision who were flared up after the death penalty for former General Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case.

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While blasphemy is punishable by death under Pakistan’s constitution none of the accused have been executed until now in the country. However, they have either been shot by opponents or exonerated by the apex court.

Deceased student Abdul Wali Khan in Mardan University in Peshawar was beaten to death by a charged up mob under blasphemy accusations. Last year, Supreme Court exonerated Christian woman, Asia Bibi, and absolved her from blasphemy charges years after she was detained on accusations.

Pakistan is among the six Muslim countries, besides Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Mauritania to punish blasphemy with execution.

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