MULTAN: A lawyer defending two blasphemy accused has received a letter from the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham or Daish’ militant group with a warning to withdraw from the cases.

Shahbaz Gurmani is representing Junaid Hafeez, a visiting lecturer at the Bahauddin Zakariya University, and Khalil Qadri who are facing blasphemy cases.

“I am also the counsel for Saleem Aslam who has filed a petition in the Multan bench of Lahore High Court seeking orders for registration of an FIR against JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for committing blasphemy,” Mr Gurmani told Dawn.

The lawyer said he was in his office on Wednesday when at about 9.30pm his brother informed him that he had heard gunshots outside their residence.

“I did not take the matter seriously and asked my brother not to worry about. I returned home and was taking dinner at about 12.15am when there was a knock at the main gate,” he said.

Mr Gurmani said he reached the gate along his security guards and asked loudly who was at the door. “We heard the sound of a motorcycle leaving and found,” he said.

He said according to the letter it had been sent by Daish, warning him to withdraw from cases or be ready to face the consequences.

“Haven’t you learned from what we did with Rashid Rehman. If you would not stop you would be beheaded. We are well aware of places you visit. We do not miss our target,” he shared contents of the letter with Dawn.

Mr Gurmani said he had informed the police about the incident and submitted an application for lodging an FIR.

He said the same elements were behind the case against Khalil Qadri who had threatened Rashid Rehman in connection with the Junaid Hafeez case.

He said he was not afraid of threats and would stand by the aggrieved and if police did not provide security to him he would arrange security for him on his own.

The Gulgasht police have registered an FIR — 1058 under sections 506, 337-H2, A-O-13/20-65 — against unidentified persons.

Regional Police Officer Amjad Javed Saleemi said police were investigating the matter.

Advocate Rashid Rehman had also reportedly received death threats after he decided to represent Junaid Hafeez in the blasphemy case. He was shot dead in May by unidentified people who stormed into his office.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2014

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