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A Christian couple is facing charges of theft after police in Abbottabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan, severely beat the pregnant woman and her husband for three days when they refused to confess. Salma Emmanuel, 30, and her husband, Emmanuel Rasheed, 39, said that they were inexplicably arrested after the Muslim woman who employed Salma as a maid had allowed the Christian woman to temporarily store some of her jewelry at her house. Salma said police arrested them on November 5, keeping her at the Women's Police Station for interrogation and her husband at the City Police Station. Upon reaching the police station, an inspector identified only as Nazia and two other policewomen started punching and kicking Salma and striking her with batons, demanding that she "confess her crime." Salma, who is five months pregnant, was taken to a hospital in critical condition on November 7, the life of her unborn child also threatened. The doctor on duty confirmed that her body bore marks of severe violence.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Aziz Afridi denied that police had tortured her, but after reports of the violence reached local media, the deputy inspector general of Haraza Division ordered an investigation. At City Police Station, Emmanuel Rasheed was undergoing a similar ordeal. "The police beat me up mercilessly," he said. "A policeman offered to remove the theft charges against me if I was willing to renounce Christianity and convert to Islam. I told him that no matter what happens, I will not renounce my faith, nor would I confess the false charges made against us."

Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of this couple. Pray they will both make a full and complete recovery. Pray that Salma will safely deliver a healthy child. Pray the investigation will be unbiased and the truth of this case will be brought to light. Pray for all believers in Pakistan who are in danger of facing discrimination and severe opposition because of their faith.

For more on the persecuted Church in Pakistan, go to the Pakistan Country Reports.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC partners to train Christian women in sewing skills throughout Pakistan to provide a sustainable source of income for their families and encourage them in their faith and witness for Christ.

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Women’s Ministry

Country Information

Population
238,181,034 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Punjabi (44.7), Pashtun [Pathan] (15.4), Sindhi (14.1), Saraiki (8.4) Muhajirs (7.6) Balochi (3.6), Other (6.3)

Religion (%)
Islam (96.5), Other - Christian and Hindu (3.5)

Leader
President Arif Alvi (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Common law system with Islamic law influence

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Pakistan

Pray that amendments will be made to Pakistan's existing blasphemy laws so that the country's citizens – including its children – will be protected from injustice and abuse. May our Lord's mercy and justice prevail, not only in the judiciary system but also in the hearts of the country's militants. Ask Him to transform their "hearts of stone" into hearts that are receptive to His love, mercy and the workings of His Holy Spirit – not only for the purpose of protecting the Christian minority but also for the salvation of their own eternal souls.

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