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Pakistan: Christians Endure 38 Incidents of Persecution in the Last Six Months of 2020

Persecution of Christians in Pakistan: the nation is home to over two million Christians, and none of them is exempt from the daily risk of persecution and harassment. A small number of these Christians are Orthodox. Orthodox Christians in Pakistan are under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Singapore and South Asia, which comprises all the Orthodox Communities, Parishes, Foundations and Philanthropic Projects in Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Brunei, Timor, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, as well as Pakistan.

Please pray that our beloved brothers and sisters of these often forgotten communities and all the Christians of Pakistan would be granted the light of religious freedom and relief from those who blaspheme the name of God with anger, violence, and hatred.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Pakistani Christians Endure 38 Incidents of Persecution in the Last Six Months of 2020,” International Christian Concern, February 19, 2021:

02/19/2021 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The last six months of 2020 proved to be another challenging time for Christians in Pakistan. Despite the PTI-led government’s lofty claims, the country’s Christian community continued to suffer discrimination, intolerance, and instances of outright persecution.

International Christian Concern (ICC) documented at least 38 incidents of persecution against Pakistan’s Christian population between July 1 and December 31, 2020. The reported incidents included discrimination, sexual assaults, abductions, forced conversions, forced marriages, blasphemy accusations, and even murder.

Blasphemy Accusations and Updates

Over the second half of 2020, ICC documented at least six blasphemy incidents. As a result of these incidents, eleven Christians were accused of committing blasphemy against Islam and its holy personages.

Among the Christians accused of blasphemy was Arshad Masih, a Christian factory worker from Sheikhupura. On December 14, Arshad was stabbed to death by Atif Ali, his Muslim coworker at Pakistan Spring Factory.

After the attack, Ali claimed he had killed a kafir, infidel, and blasphemer. When he was arrested, Ali asked the arresting officers if he could wash his hands as “he did not want the blood of a blasphemer on his hands anymore.

Samina Bibi, Arshad’s wife, reports that Ali attacked her husband due to a promotion Arshad received and his refusal to convert to Islam. Arshad’s widow suspects that Ali attacked her husband because he refused to convert to Islam.

On August 30, police arrested David Masih, a Christian from Risalpure, located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. David was charged with committing blasphemy under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s Penal Code for allegedly throwing copies of the Quran in the drainage line.

On November 23, four Christian sanitary workers were accused of committing blasphemy in Lahore. A Muslim cleric accused the Christians of collecting garbage in a bag decorated with a photo of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. They were in police custody until declared innocent after an investigation on November 28.

In addition to new accusations, ICC also noted several high-profile blasphemy cases against Christians being resolved in the second half of 2020.

In October 2020, the Lahore High Court acquitted Sawan Masih; a Christian sentenced to death under the blasphemy laws in March 2014. Sawan was accused by his Muslim friend, Muhammad Shahid, of insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a conversation in March 2013.

In December 2020, Imran Masih, a Christian sentenced to life imprisonment under the blasphemy laws in January 2010, was also acquitted and released. Imran’s situation changed very little for more than ten years after his conviction. After a hearing in September 2015, Imran’s appeal to the Lahore High Court was repeatedly delayed until December 10, 2020, when he was finally acquitted….

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