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World Watch Monitor is reporting that Islamists are demanding the death penalty for three Christians accused of sending "blasphemous texts".

On July 13, Christian man Sajjad Masih was convicted of blasphemy under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. In 2011, Masih was accused of sending text messages insulting Muhammad via a SIM card registered to Masih’s former fiancé. A police investigation was unable to find the phone or the SIM card.

Hard-line Islamists condemned the court’s decision and launched a sit-in on Mankanwala Crossing in Gojra with banners reading:

“Only one punishment for the blasphemer; sever his head from the body... Life imprisonment not acceptable, not acceptable and not acceptable.”

In another case, Christian couple Shafqat, 43, and Shaguftah, 40, were also accused of sending blasphemous messages.

Islamic cleric, Muhammad Hussin, says on July 18 he received text messages insulting Muhammad and the Koran. Gojra City police told World Watch Monitor that cell data for Hussein’s phone reveals the messages were sent from Shaguftah’s phone number.

Two days later the couple was arrested and Shafqat made a verbal statement saying he had sent the messages. Legal representative for the couple, Riaz Anjum, says the statement was illegaly extracted from Shafqat.

Pakistan is an Islamic republic whose system of law is increasingly following Shariah law. Under Section 295 of the penal code, blaspheming the Koran is a criminal offense while blaspheming Mohammad is an offense punishable by death. Court authorities are often intimidated by Muslim militants into handing out false guilty verdicts or continuing trials indefinitely.

Pray for Pakistani Christians

  • Pray that authorities will not cave into militant pressure to give Sajjad Masih the death penalty for his alleged crimes.
  • Pray that the judicial systems will not be intimidated into wrongfully convicting Christians of blasphemy.
  • Pray for courage and strength for Christians in Pakistan to continue witnessing despite their founded fears of imprisonment.

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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