29 May Please pray
This month we heard the news that we have longed to hear for several years: Asia Bibi was finally allowed to leave Pakistan and begin a new life with her family in Canada. It’s fantastic news, and it was made possible by the tireless campaigning and prayers of many thousands around the world.
However she is only one, high profile, victim of the Blasphemy Laws – many others languish in jail, mistreated and living every day, with death sentences still hanging over their heads.
In the next month, more people we have been campaigning for at CLAAS will be standing trial. Whether they will be granted freedom in the same way that Asia Bibi was, remains to be seen. Please pray for:
Zafar Bhatti, whose appeal is fixed for June 19, 2019.
Zafar, a pastor from Rawalpindi, was imprisoned in July 2012 after being accused of sending blasphemous text messages. The phone in question was conclusively shown not to have belonged to him. In spite of this he was still sentenced to life imprisonment, only escaping the death penalty due to ‘lack of evidence’. He is now appealing for a full pardon.
Sawan Masih, whose appeal is fixed for June 12, 2019.
Sawan was accused by his Muslim friend of making derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in 2013. He was found guilty of blasphemy and put on death row the following year.
Please also pray for Sawan Masih’s wife and three children. As well as fearing the fate of their husband and father, they live in fear for their own lives. The arrest of Sawan was accompanied by serious mob violence, and the remaining family are in hiding, kept safe by CLAAS.
Nabeel Masih, whose case was due this week but has now been postponed.
Nabeel was arrested age 16, for posting an offensive image on his Facebook feed, featuring the sacred Kaaba building in the heart of Mecca.
He says he had no idea that his post was offensive and has no previous criminal record. Do also pray for the lawyers defending him as they have faced intimidation from prosecution lawyers.
Please keep praying for all of these and the many more, still in Jail. There is no sign that the Blasphemy Laws will be repealed anytime soon. however the high profile release of Asia Bibi, both from prison and from Pakistan itself, should be a source of hope and encouragement for all of us.