A quiet hero. RIP Rashid Rehman Khan

Rashid Rehman- screenshot from Mukhtiar Mai documentaryHeard the terrible news a few hours ago that the courageous Multan-based advocate Rashid Rehman Khan of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has been shot dead in Multan. Criminal cowards barged into his chamber and opened fire, killing him and injuring two others. He had been under threat for some time for defending a blasphemy accused, but refused to back down. More ominously, no protection was provided to him – although given the climate in Pakistan, any lawyer taking up a blasphemy case should be given 24-hour protection.

Gentle, brave, committed, compassionate and wise, he was a low-key, soft-spoken person who  never sought publicity or glory. Perhaps a higher profile might have afforded him some protection. He just fought tenaciously, consistently and quietly to uphold the rights of the most vulnerable. Some suggest he should have retreated from the case that he was being threatened for. I believe he would rather have died than do that – and he did. Rest in peace, comrade. We will miss you greatly. My thoughts turn to your brave family, aged parents, to family including I.A. Rehman and others. Tujh ko kitnon ka lahu chahiye ae arz-e-watan…

Rashid spoke thoughtfully and eloquently about the issue of violence against women when I interviewed him some years ago for my short documentary on Mukhtiar Mai (from 6m 48sec onwards). His words are as relevant to the issue of ‘blasphemy’ as violence against women in Pakistan.

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  1. […] A quiet hero. RIP Rashid Rehman Khan […]

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