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PAKISTAN: Father of Kidnap Victim told by Police to be happy for his Daughter’s Conversion to Islam

PAKISTAN: Father of Kidnap Victim told by Police to be happy for his Daughter’s Conversion to Islam

Farah Shaheen, 12, of Gulistan Colony, Faisalabad, was kidnapped, forcefully converted to Islam and married to a 45-year-old Muslim kidnapper, Khizar Hayat, in June.

Farah, who lost her mother five years ago is the second among six siblings.

According to Farah’s father Asif Masih, Khizar took Farah to a nearby mosque and announced that a 12-year-old Christian girl who has now converted to Islam is married to him.

Asif went to the police but rather than receiving help from the authorities Asif was rebuked, dismissed and threatened.

Asif said, “I went to the local police station several times but it was no use. I pleaded with them to bring my daughter back but they refused to take any action against the kidnapper.” One policeman told Asif to forget about his daughter and be happy because she has converted to Islam.

On another occasion, the police threatened Asif, saying that if he ever went retuned to the police station, they would register a blasphemy case against him and he would have to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Protests by Faisalabad’s Christian community finally forced the police to produce Farah in the magistrate’s court. Farah said in her statement that she had married Khizar of her own free will. But Farah had already been in the kidnapper’s custody for months by then and has likely been threatened.

The court completely ignored the fact that Farah is visibly a minor and allowed her to be returned to her abductor.

Asif calls the attitude of the police humiliating and the court’s decision biased as both favoured the kidnapper, because he is Christian.

Asif’s neighbour, Jamal Haider, confirms Asif’s allegations. He said, “Once I accompanied Asif to a village near Hafizabad to meet the young Farah. It broke my heart to see such a little girl forcefully married to such an old man. How can the magistrate allow such an incident to take place?”

Source: Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement

  • Ask the Lord for His powerful intervention in this case. Ask for His favour on behalf of Farah, Asif and the Christian community.
  • Pray for the Lord’s protection over Farah’s mind and body. Pray against any evil action against her.
  • Pray those in higher positions within Pakistan’s government will intervene in this case to seek justice, and work against bias and ineptitude within the police.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN:  A Healing Journey Ahead for Arzoo Raja

PAKISTAN: A Healing Journey Ahead for Arzoo Raja

On 13 October, Arzoo Raja was abducted from her family home. She was forced to convert to Islam and marry her kidnapper, even though she was only 13 years old. On 5 November, a court ordered that her age be determined and in the interim, she be moved to a shelter.

In the latest developments, a court nullified her marriage, determining that she was too young to marry. When asked if she wanted to return to her home or to the shelter, she replied neither. The court then ordered that she be returned to the shelter for her protection and education.

Her captor, Syed Ali Azhar, has been charged with the sexual assault of a minor. The marriage officiant, two witnesses, and two lawyers have all been charged for their part in solemnising a child marriage. The courts also ruled that Arzoo is to stay in the state-run shelter until the age of 18, since she does not wish to return home.

The family’s lawyer believes that the young girl is reluctant to return home due to the “consistent brainwashing” she received from her kidnapper and some other community activists. Human rights workers are concerned that without her parent’s moral support, pressure will continue from the family of her kidnapper and other militant Islamic activists. A video has been released, demonstrating the devastating impact the situation is having on Arzoo’s parents.

The video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPQulXSYlU4.

Sources: Morning Star News, Daily Pakistan, British Pakistani Christians, Herald Malaysia

  • Praise God for the court’s judgements in this case. Pray that justice will be pursued on behalf of the many other young victims of forced abduction and marriage.
  • Ask the Lord to administer much-needed spiritual and emotional healing to Arzoo and her family. Pray her relationships with her parents may be restored.
  • Pray also for Arzoo’s physical healing, as she has recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: Judges Failing to Acquit Christians Due to Fear of Extremists

PAKISTAN: Judges Failing to Acquit Christians Due to Fear of Extremists

Pakistan prosecutes anyone who is seen to be insulting Islam, with the resulting penalty of life in prison or a death sentence. It is claimed that judges in smaller courts in Pakistan are too afraid to let Christians go free in blasphemy cases due to the threat from extremists.

Sajid Christopher Paul, President and Executive Director of Human Friends Organisation has said more needs to be done to make judges feel secure, “Judges in the low courts do not have as much security as the High Court and the Supreme Court. The lawyers and everyone involved in cases such as this say that they don’t have the same security so they don’t make the bold decisions.”

Christopher Paul went on “The Supreme Court can make daring decisions like the acquittal of Asia Bibi because they have high-level security.”

Recently, Christian man Asif Pervaiz was sentenced to death after he allegedly sent blasphemous text messages to a work colleague. Pervaiz says his sim card was stolen and messages were forged after he refused to convert to Islam.

Christopher Paul said, “The reason for cases like this is intolerance about co-existence. Christians are falsely accused. I’ve never seen a Christian commit blasphemy because of our teachings of peace and tolerance but they are always falsely accused.”

Analysis of legal data shows that over the past 30 years there is a Christian victim of these laws in Pakistan every six weeks.

Sources: Premier Christian News, Australian Prayer Network

  • Pray against this very real threat of targeted violence towards those who defend and advocate for Christians and others who have been accused of blasphemy.
  • Pray the authorities will do more to ensure justice for those who have been falsely accused. Pray the laws will be changed or revoked entirely.
  • Pray for Asif, that the Lord will walk with him and his family during this uncertain and difficult time. Pray for the Lord’s favour to be upon Asif and ask for his release.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: Hope for Christian Girl who had been Ordered to Stay with her Muslim Abductor

PAKISTAN: Hope for Christian Girl who had been Ordered to Stay with her Muslim Abductor

According to Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights, the Sindh High Court has ordered Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old Christian girl, be recovered by police and moved into a shelter home. This comes almost a month after Arzoo’s parents claim their daughter was abducted, forcefully converted, and forcefully married by their 44-year-old Muslim neighbour.

This news comes as a positive development for Arzoo’s parents and the legal team fighting to have her returned to her family. According to the family’s lawyer, Arzoo will be brought before the court on 5 November and will have her age determined through medical testing prior to the hearing. Ali Azhar, her alleged abductor has been arrested.

On 13 October, Arzoo was abducted from her family home in Karachi by her Muslim neighbour, Azhar. Arzoo’s parents reported the incident to local police and were informed two days later that their daughter had converted to Islam and married Azhar.

Arzoo’s parents have challenged the validity of the marriage to Azhar claiming that it violates the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act. However, on 27 October, the High Court of Sindh ruled in favour of the marriage, applying an interpretation of Sharia law that allows for underage marriages.

Sources: International Christian Concern, Pakistan Christian Post

  • Thank the Lord for this answered prayer and pray for a favourable outcome for Arzoo and her family. Ask the Lord to shield and strengthen Arzoo as the ordeal continues.
  • Pray He will provide his ministering Spirit to bring healing to Arzoo, to help her to overcome the trauma she has suffered.
  • Ask the Lord to bring conviction to her abductor, his family and those involved in the unjust High Court case.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: Victim’s Family Goes into Hiding

PAKISTAN: Victim’s Family Goes into Hiding

Marilyn Asif, along with her four young children, has had to flee for safety after her husband Asif Pervaiz was sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Asif, 37, has already spent seven years in jail after a blasphemy case was filed against him in 2013. He was given the death penalty on 8 September.

The case against Asif was brought after the Christian refused to take part in Muslim prayers at his factory or convert to Islam.

Asif lost his phone, which was later used to send a so-called blasphemous text message to his supervisor at work. Asif believes the text was actually sent by his accuser to incriminate him.

Asif’s wife is fearful for the safety of her children.

The case has echoes of that of Asia Bibi, who languished in jail for eight years awaiting the death penalty before her lawyer had the case thrown out by the Supreme Court. A price was put on Asia Bibi’s head and her family were driven into hiding.

After the Supreme Court overturned the verdict, mobs brought cities to a standstill, calling for the army to mutiny and overthrow the government. After Asia was released, she and her family had to leave the country.

Asif has the same lawyer as Asia, Saif ul Malook, a Muslim who risks his life to defend Christians.

VOM’s ministry partner Release International is helping Asif and his family.

Source: Release International

  • Pray the Lord’s protection will be upon Asif, Marylin and their children. Pray they will see the Lord’s merciful hand at work in their daily lives so that they will not despair but continue to trust in Him during this trying time.
  • Praise God for the courage and kindness of Saif ul Malook. Ask the Lord to provide him with immeasurable spiritual blessing. Pray too for favour and wisdom as he defends Asif.
  • Pray the nation of Pakistan will bring change to its notorious blasphemy laws and guard against injustice.

Post your prayer in the comments below.