Zafar Bhatti has been in prison since 2012 after being charged with sending blasphemous text messages. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017.
Diagnosed with diabetes, the 56-year-old Christian had two minor heart attacks in 2019 and suffers from eyesight problems. It was recently reported that he had another heart attack on 3 September. He received swift medical attention in prison to stabilise his condition but there are ongoing concerns for Zafar’s physical and mental health. His lawyers called on the Lahore High Court (Rawalpindi Bench) to grant immediate bail on medical grounds and allow him access to medical treatment outside of jail.
Due to threats from fellow inmates, Zafar is presently being held under tight security. His appeal hearings have been adjourned repeatedly, causing great distress to him and his wife Nawab. An appeal was due to be held on 7 September but was postponed for three days.
Following a brief hearing at Lahore High Court on 10 September, the Rawalpindi Bench instructed the local police superintendent to commission a medical report on Zafar. His lawyer from Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) later met the superintendent and was allowed to visit Zafar in prison.
The legal team from CLAAS reports the good news that Zafar’s faith in Christ remains strong and that he is recovering from his recent ailment. Zafar told them that his Saviour will protect him and that “soon I’ll be out of the jail”. In the meantime, he has asked for Christians around the world to pray that he will be proven innocent and thus released from prison.
Sources: Pakistan Christian News, Church in Chains
- Pray Zafar will receive suitable medical treatment and be kept safe from those in prison who wish him harm.
- Pray the Lord will grant Zafar favour to miraculously make a way for his safe release.
- Pray that the hearts of Zafar’s opposers will be radically transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit and the faithful witness of Zafar.