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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.

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PAKISTAN: Asia Bibi Marks Nine Years Since Arrest

PAKISTAN: Asia Bibi Marks Nine Years Since Arrest

This month marks the ninth anniversary of the arrest of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy in Pakistan.

The case against Bibi remains the highest profile blasphemy case in Pakistan and has claimed the lives of two prominent Pakistani politicians.

In 2009, Bibi was accused of blasphemy following a dispute between herself and a group of Muslim co-workers harvesting berries in Sheikhupura. An argument broke out when Bibi drank from the same water basin as her Muslim co-workers, because she was a Christian and considered by the Muslim women to be unclean. A few days later, it was reported to a local cleric that Bibi had blasphemed against Islam by allegedly saying, “My Christ died for me, what did Muhammad do for you?”

Since her arrest, Bibi’s case has become symbolic of the persecution facing Pakistani Christians and the widespread abuse of the country’s blasphemy laws.

Bibi was convicted, and she was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges in November 2010 by the Session’s Court in District Nankana, Punjab.

Months later, the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, visited Bibi in prison. Upon leaving the jail, he made a statement that the blasphemy laws had been misused in her case. Within days, he was murdered by his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, who had been convinced by radicals that this was an attack on Islam. Two months after this murder, in March 2011, the Federal Minister of Minorities’ Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti – the only Christian in the Pakistani cabinet – criticised the country’s blasphemy laws, noting that they were easily manipulated.

On 13 October 2016 the Supreme Court of Pakistan indefinitely adjourned Bibi’s appeal after one of the three Supreme Court Justices hearing the case decided to recuse himself.

Sources: The Herald, International Christian Concern

  • Ask the Lord to strengthen and uphold Asia, pray she may be given all the grace, courage and patience she needs to endure. Thank the Lord that her faith in Him remains strong.
  • Ask God to bring about an appeal swiftly. Pray He may also bring change to the nation’s laws.
  • Ask God for His shield of protection to be upon Asia, her family, her legal representative and all who voice support for her.
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PAKISTAN: Death Penalty for Alleged Blasphemous Message

PAKISTAN: Death Penalty for Alleged Blasphemous Message

A Pakistani Christian man has been sentenced to death after he was accused of sending a Muslim friend a blasphemous WhatsApp message.

On 10 July last year, Yasir Bashir accused Nadeem James of sending him a poem that included derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed and other holy figures.

Later that day the police raided Nadeem’s house to arrest him, but when they did not find him or his brothers at the address, they took his two sisters-in-law into custody. Two days later Nadeem was arrested and the female members of his family were released.

On 14 September Nadeem was found guilty under Section 295-C and 298-A of the Pakistani Penal Code and sentenced to death.

His lawyer Anjum Vakil said his client would appeal the sentence in the High Court as he had been framed by his Muslim friend who was annoyed with his affair with a Muslim girl. He also said that due to security reasons the trial was held in a prison.

Source: Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement

  • Pray for God’s protection over Nadeem James and for the safety of his family during this difficult time.
  • Pray the court will deal with Nadeem James’ case with diligence, fairness and without agenda.
  • Pray that the resolution passed by Pakistan’s National Assembly, to prevent misuse of the Blasphemy Law will take effect around the nation, offering justice and protection to Nadeem James and others like him in years to come.