The trial of the case started in 2014 and Hafeez has been lodged in a high-security ward of New Central Jail in Multan. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
A Muslim professor was sentenced to death on Saturday by a Pakistani court for a blasphemous Facebook post, according to a media report. Junaid Hafeez, who was a visiting lecturer at the Department of English Literature of the Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) in Multan city of Punjab Province, was booked on blasphemy charges and was arrested by police on March 13, 2013. The trial of the case started in 2014 and Hafeez has been lodged in a high-security ward of New Central Jail in Multan.
Additional Sessions Judge Kashif Qayyum sentenced Hafeez to death and imposed a fine of Rs 0.5 million under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), the Dawn News reported.
Hafeez's lawyer, Rashid Rehman, was shot dead in May 2014 in his office. His parents had earlier this year appealed to former chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa to look into their son's case. They sought justice for their son, fearing for his mental and physical health, the daily said.
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.
“Due to transfer of many judges, delaying tactics of prosecution witnesses, and difficulties finding adequate legal counsel for the defence because of the sensitive nature of the case, our son continues to await justice in a fabricated case,” Junaid's parents had said in a written appeal to the chief justice.
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Pakistan, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence. Anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.
Rights groups have said the blasphemy laws are routinely abused to seek vengeance and settle personal scores.