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Pakistan: Nearly 200 cases of Christians being held on blasphemy charges

The most notorious of these cases is that of Asia Bibi, who, despite having been acquitted of blasphemy by the Pakistani Supreme Court, is now in custody in a hidden location in that country, because lynch mobs are hunting for her and hoping to kill her. Before that, she spent eight years in prison on death row. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

And as this article states, Asia Bibi is not singular. Many Christians have been accused of blasphemy in Pakistan; some are in languishing in prison now, suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. May that same Christ now grant them safety, security, serenity, and peace.

“Pakistan: Nearly 200 cases of Christians on blasphemy charges,” by Tobias Lehner and John Pontifex, Independent Catholic News, January 23, 2019:

There are nearly 200 cases of Christians in Pakistan charged with blasphemy – the controversial law made famous by Asia Bibi.

Father James Channon, director of the Peace Center in Lahore, which promotes inter-faith relations, said research by the Catholic Church had revealed 187 live cases of Christians charged with blasphemy which in Pakistan can carry sentences of life imprisonment or death.

Added to this figure is the case of Asia Bibi, whose death penalty conviction for blasphemy was overturned last October by Pakistan’s Supreme Court, a decision which created headlines around the world.

Speaking in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Father Channon said: “Even now, after her acquittal, she is anything but safe.

“Radical Islamists are trying to find her so they can kill her. That is why she is currently under state protection.”

He highlighted the suffering experienced by so many people accused of blasphemy, irrespective of the outcome of their cases.

The priest said: “The blasphemy law destroys the lives of those who have been accused, even if they avoid being executed.”

He added: “Any time Christians are accused of supposed blasphemy, all Christians in the region are indicted with them.

“This often leads to acts of violence against Christians.”

Among the 187 current cases, he highlighted that of married couple Shafqat Masih and Shagufta Bibi, on death row on charges of sending blasphemous text messages.

He said: “Their prospects are very weak. Even should they be acquitted, they and their children will no longer be able to live in Pakistan. Fanatic Muslims will try to kill them.”…

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