PAKISTAN – Christians excluded from ‘blasphemy acquittals’

February 18, 2015
One justice for Muslims and another for Christians.

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Punjab officials are fast-tracking cases where they believe defendants are accused of blasphemy without basis – but have excluded Christians from the process.

The Punjab Prosecution Department has short-listed 50 cases of alleged blasphemers whom they believe have been falsely accused. Sources say that they have decided not to fast-track for acquittal cases involving non-Muslims for fear of a ‘violent reaction’ by Islamic hardliners. However, Christians are disproportionately targeted by those misusing the blasphemy laws.

Christian religious rights activists are now calling on Punjab officials to include Christians in the process, citing several who are on death row for alleged blasphemy. These include farm labourer Asia Bibi (Prayer Alert, October 16, 2014), road sweeper Sawan Masih (Prayer Alert, March 27, 2014) and married couple Shafqat Emmanuel Masih and Shagufta Kausar (P rayer Alert, July 23, 2013).

The Lahore High Court is due to hear Shafqat’s appeal for bail on March 5. He is paralysed and confined to a wheelchair; his health has reportedly deteriorated sharply in jail.

(Source: Morning Star News)

  • Please pray that God’s peace and presence will be with Christian prisoners across Pakistan, and with their families. Pray for justice – and for their release.
  • Pray that Punjab officials will extend their fast-tracking of blasphemy cases to include non-Muslims. Pray that the same process will extend across Pakistan.

 

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