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Project: Help for Christians in Pakistan.

Project: Help for Christians in Pakistan.

Last year Voice of the Martyrs, together with our supporters, was able to help many persecuted Christians in Pakistan.

A summary of the field report is below:

Although 2020 was challenging in many ways, by the grace of God, the work of the Lord continued.

This project provided support to Christians facing systemic discrimination in Pakistan, due to their faith.

The project funds allowed us to provide struggling families with Bibles, food and other necessities plus a Christian education for their children. Ongoing education will help equip them for future employment. We received a video from one of our education centres, showing the kids at school, worshipping the Lord. We noticed that none of the children were wearing shoes. It was because the parents could not afford them. The project funds also enabled us to provide 135 pairs of shoes to these children.

We were also able to set up temporary medical camps in Christian communities. Medical aid was provided free of charge as Christians in Pakistan are mostly unable to afford treatment.

We currently have five pastors working with poor village Christians in various areas, supporting them spiritually and physically.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations Of $2 or more to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

PAKISTAN: Muslim Supervisors Kill Two Christian Women

PAKISTAN: Muslim Supervisors Kill Two Christian Women

Police in Lahore recovered the bodies of two Christian sisters whose Muslim supervisors pressured them to convert to Islam before killing them.

Mushtaq Masih said that police informed him on 4 January that officers had found the decomposed bodies of his 28-year-old wife, Sajida Mushtaq, and her sister, Abida Qaiser, bound and bundled into sacks in an area drainage ditch. Sajida, a mother of four, and Abida, mother of one, had been missing since 26 November.

“After she went missing, one of my relatives shared with us that Sajida had confided in her that her supervisors, Muhammad Mumtaz and Naeem Butt, used to pressure her and Abida to convert to Islam and marry them,” Masih said.

Sajida and Abida began working at a pharmaceutical factory more than two years ago. The sisters had gone shopping on the evening in November and when they did not return home, Masih and other relatives registered a First Information Report at the Kahna Nau police station after searching for them.

The investigating officer of the case, Iftikhar Hussain, said that officers took Mumtaz and Butt into custody after relatives of the sisters informed them that the supervisors had pressured the women to convert to Islam and marry them.

“During interrogation, Naeem confessed that they had abducted the sisters, and after keeping them hostage for a few days for satisfying their lust, had slit their throats and thrown their bodies into the drain,” Hussain said.

Masih said that his family was shattered when police informed them about the recovery of the bodies, whose hands and feet were bound.

Masih and other relatives were asked to confirm the identity of the badly decomposed bodies.

Sources: Morning Star News, CLAAS

  • Pray for this family, traumatised by the loss of their loved ones in shocking and violent circumstances.
  • Pray for justice for the family and for others who have suffered similar targeted violence.
  • Pray the authorities and the Pakistani government will do more to protect vulnerable minorities.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

 

 

PAKISTAN: Displaced Christian Families Return Home Under Police Protection

PAKISTAN: Displaced Christian Families Return Home Under Police Protection

Hundreds of Christian families have returned to their homes in Pakistan after threats of mob violence forced them to flee last month.

On 27 December, hundreds of Christian families fled the Charar neighbourhood of Lahore after a local pastor’s faith-based social media post was deemed offensive by Muslims.

“Pastor Raja Waris published a faith-based post on Facebook on 22 December which Muslims claimed hurt their religious sentiments,” Saleem Khokhar, a Christian from Charar said.

“The pastor apologised for the post and the issue was resolved the next day.”

Even though the issue was resolved, a mob of hundreds of Muslims began protesting against the Christians of Charar. According to locals, the mob demanded that Pastor Waris be beheaded for publishing the offending post.

“The situation turned dangerous when someone found out the Muslims were planning to set fire to the houses of Christians,” Khokhar reported. “This forced the Christians to flee the neighbourhood.”

On 28 December, Pastor Waris was handed over to police custody, where he remains.

Police have been deployed to Charar to keep any protest from turning violent. The police presence so far has been able to keep the peace and many of the Christian families that fled have returned to their homes. Rumours of mob violence remain, but police authorities have assured local Christians that they will protect the community.

Sources: International Christian Concern, Christian Post

  • Pray for the protection of Pastor Waris, his family and the community.
  • Ask the Lord to strengthen and uphold Pastor Waris as he endures this difficult and uncertain time.
  • Pray that the apology will be sufficient. Ask for Pastor Waris’s release.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: Court Acquits Imran Ghafur Masih

PAKISTAN: Court Acquits Imran Ghafur Masih

The Lahore High Court has acquitted Imran Ghafur Masih, a Christian sentenced to life in prison under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. According to Imran’s family, they have moved into hiding following the acquittal due to potential threats from extremists.

On 15 December, the Lahore High Court acquitted Imran after he spent more than 10 years in prison. The development came as a shock to Imran’s family. “It is a day of resurrection for us,” said Naveed Masih, Imran’s brother. “God has heard our cry and we are very thankful to him. It’s a Christmas gift for us.”

On 1 July 2009, Imran was cleaning his family’s bookshop in Hajweri town, located in Faisalabad. He was about to burn some garbage he collected, which included some old books and papers, when he came across a textbook with Arabic writing. Concerned that the book contained religious writings, Imran consulted Hajji Liaquat Ali, his Muslim neighbour.

Ali told Imran to burn the book, so Imran threw it into the fire and walked away. When the book was partially burned, Ali returned and pulled it out of the fire. Ali used this partially burned book to falsely accuse Imran of burning a Koran. According to Imran’s family, Ali wanted the storefront leased to the family’s bookshop to expand his building materials business located next door.

News of the incident soon spread to local mosques, which made announcements over their PA systems. A mob of approximately 400 enraged Muslims gathered at Imran’s home. The mob beat Imran, along with his brother, Naveed, and father, Ghafur, before dousing the Christians with paraffin in an attempt to burn them alive.

Local police intervened, arrested Imran, and took him to the police station. A mob of 1,000 reportedly gathered outside of the police station and demanded Imran be handed to them. The mob chanted, “Hang him who disgraces the Holy Koran… Christians are dogs. Imran is a dog.” Police soon registered a blasphemy case against Imran and copies of the charges were distributed to the mob.

On 11 January 2010, the Sessions Court of Faisalabad sentenced Imran to life in prison and a fine of 100,000 rupees under Sections 295-A and 295-B of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Imran’s case was appealed to the Lahore High Court but was postponed nearly 70 times over the course of the next 10 years. According to Imran’s lawyer, the appeal passed through the offices of at least 10 justices.

“We went through a very painful time during Imran’s imprisonment,” Naveed said. “Imran lost his parents and was not allowed to attend the funerals. We lost our business and jobs which has affected our children’s education and future. We have not seen any happiness during these years.”

In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are common and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Currently, 24 Christians are imprisoned on blasphemy charges in Pakistan.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Praise God for this wonderful answer to prayer. May it give cause for celebration for Christians all over Pakistan.
  • Pray that Imran and his family will be shielded from those who still wish to harm them. Ask the Lord to bless Imran as he adjusts to life outside of prison and makes plans for the future.
  • Pray the Lord will use this case to draw further attention to deficiencies in the justice system and the potential for blasphemy laws to be open to abuse.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

 

PAKISTAN: Christian Woman Killed for Refusing Marriage Proposal

PAKISTAN: Christian Woman Killed for Refusing Marriage Proposal

A 24-year-old Christian woman was shot and killed in Pakistan after she refused a marriage proposal and invitation to convert to Islam by a Muslim man.

On 11 November, Sonia Bibi was shot and killed in public by Muhammad Shehzad and Faizan, two Muslim men. Sonia was reportedly confronted and killed while she was on her way to work at a garment factory.

According to Sonia’s family, Shehzad had been harassing Sonia for the last six months and had tried to force a physical relationship with her. Sonia refused these advances due to the difference in faith backgrounds.

Eventually, Shehzad proposed that Sonia should marry him and convert to Islam. Shehzad’s mother was even sent to Sonia’s family home in an attempt to negotiate an arranged marriage. Sonia’s family also refused the marriage.

“A few days before the incident, Sonia was again harassed by Shehzad,” Allah Rakha, Sonia’s father, said. “Since she was a committed Christian, she did not betray Jesus and sacrificed her life for her faith.”

“We are being harassed and pressurised to withdraw the case against the culprits,” Rakha continued. “However, I want the culprits brought to justice.”

Police have registered a First Information Report against Shehzad and Faizan. Faizan has been taken into custody. Police are searching for Shehzad.

Sources: International Christian Concern, Aid to the Church in Need

  • Ask God to comfort Sonia’s parents and four younger siblings. Pray they will feel the Lord’s presence as they come to terms with such a terrible loss.
  • Pray for justice for the family and ask God for their protection.
  • Pray for Shehzad and Faizan, may they have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and be brought to repentance.

Post your prayer in the comments below.