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Fansan Shahid, a 54-year-old Christian from Gujranwala in Punjab Province, is in federal custody with charges predicated on a blasphemous comment he allegedly made in a Facebook post in 2019.

Fansan was arrested just after midnight on 16 March when more than a dozen police officers stormed into his house and began beating him before taking him into custody.

According to his wife Safia, Fansan lost his phone in 2019 but hadn’t reported it missing. They believe someone found the phone and used it to post the comment since there was no password protection applied to the device and his Facebook account automatically logged in.

Safia insists that Fansan would never have committed the crime since he was well aware of the consequences. In fact, he regularly warned his two adult children against discussing religion with any opposing Muslims because of potential problems.

The family is concerned about what may become a lengthy court process since Fansan has multiple health issues. There are also concerns about the family’s financial situation since he was the sole wage earner and charges like this can jeopardise any retirement fund. Additionally, there are fears about how the family’s landlord and Muslim neighbours may react when they find out the nature of the charges against Fansan.

Accusations of blasphemy are an ongoing problem in Pakistan. Such claims are often used for personal advantage or to express religious hatred. The results are frequently demonstrated in mob violence against the accused and their family members.

Sources: Kross Konnection, Morning Star News, USCIRF

Let us pray.

  • Pray for Fansan, Safia and their children as they contend with the charges. Pray they will receive greatly needed protection, provision and encouragement throughout this ordeal.
  • Ask the Lord to especially strengthen Fansan during his time in prison, granting him opportunities to share his faith with spiritually seeking inmates. Pray for his physical well-being and ask for his release.
  • Pray that neighbours and other community members will be understanding and compassionate towards the family’s situation.