Zahid Hussain Khan, Karachi
Updated: June 05, 2021 04:28 AM GMT
Saiful Malook wants to move to an English-speaking country. (Photo: YouTube)
A Pakistani lawyer who is globally recognized for defending the country’s beleaguered religious minorities in blasphemy cases has made an emphatic appeal to the international community to help him relocate to an English-speaking country.
“My message for the world. I can’t survive anymore in my country. I want to shift to some English-speaking country,” Saiful Malook tweeted late on June 3.
His tweet came hours after he had won the acquittal of Christian couple Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmaneul, who had been sentenced to death in 2014 on charges of sending blasphemous message from a mobile phone.
Malook was also instrumental in securing the release of Asia Bibi, a Catholic mother of five who had spent nearly a decade in solitary confinement after being handed a death sentence for blasphemy.
Malook fled to the Netherlands in November 2018, a day after the Supreme Court overturned Bibi's death sentence and ordered her release.
He returned to Pakistan in 2019 to represent Bibi one last time in the top court after appeals were filed against her acquittal. The Supreme Court upheld Bibi’s release and dismissed all appeals.
The OIAD is an institution of solidarity among lawyers whose goal is to provide judicial and material support
The lawyer was awarded the National Secular Society's annual prize at its Secularism 2019 conference on May 29. The award was presented by the human rights barrister and NSS honorary associate Geoffrey Robertson QC.
In 2020, Malook was nominated by the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger (OIAD) for the prestigious American Bar Association human rights award.
The OIAD is an institution of solidarity among lawyers whose goal is to provide judicial and material support. This project, co-financed by the European Union, was signed by the Italian National Bar Association, Conseil National des Barreaux, Spanish National Bar Association, and the Rome, Paris and Madrid Bars on April 22, 2016.
The purpose of the OIAD is to defend lawyers under threat and denounce situations in which the right to defense is put at risk. It will also track, through monitoring and all other available means, lawyers who are victim of threats, pressure, torture or any other kind of abuse.
Malook was also nominated for the Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award for his courage. He received a prestigious award from Britain's National Secular Society in London.