After seven years on death row, Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagufta Kausar were cleared of all charges against them by a Pakistani court on June 3rd, 2021. They were convicted on April 4th, 2014, after being accused of sending "blasphemous" text messages. The texts were allegedly sent from Shagufta's phone, which had gone missing a month prior and was never recovered. Furthermore, as the couple are illiterate, they would not have been able to send the alleged texts. (See this page for more details on the original conviction.)
The years spent in prison were particularly hard on Shafqat, who is paralyzed below the waist due to an accident in 2004. As a result of his infirmity, he was at the mercy of prison guards for the assistance he needed. In April of this year, Amnesty International reported that he was suffering from severe bed sores and was in significant pain. The family disclosed that he had also been in a coma for three days this past March but was never taken to hospital.
While thankful for the couple's release, several organizations have highlighted the dangers now awaiting them. Similar to Asia Bibi, who was forced to flee the country for safety, they face a life of hiding from vigilante mobs who continue to threaten their lives.
Praise God that the judges have ruled favourably towards this couple and overturned the convictions. As Shafqat and Shagufta seek to be reunited with family and friends, including their four children, ask that the Lord's protection and blessings be upon them. Also pray that Shafqat will receive the medical attention he requires, even while living in hiding. May any attempts of those who seek to harm them and their loved ones be thwarted, with hopes there will soon be a time when this Christian couple would no longer need to hide but rather be allowed to live in safety and harmony with others in their community.