Pakistan university students tackle intolerance problem

Source: UCA News

A growing number of blasphemy attacks on campus has prompted a new program to promote religious understanding

Pakistan university students tackle intolerance problem

Students at a diversity workshop in Lahore. (Photo courtesy Youth Development Foundation)

When Muhammad Usman Farooq arrived to study at the top University in Lahore, there was animated discussion about an infamous blasphemy case against one of the lecturers.

In early 2013, former Fulbright scholar Junaid Hafeez’s employment as an English lecturer at Bahauddin Zakariya University had been terminated.

Students belonging to Jamaat-e-Islaami, the largest religious-political party in the country, had protested on campus against allegedly blasphemous remarks Hafeez made during lectures and on Facebook.

Hafeez was arrested and charged in March 2013 with blasphemy, but struggled to find a lawyer to defend him. In the end Rashid Rehman, a regional coordinator for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, took up Hafeez’s case but he was murdered in his office by unidentified gunmen. During an earlier hearing, Rehman was openly threatened by prosecution lawyers in court.

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