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Pastor Zafar Bhatti - Photo: Pakistan Christian Post
Pastor Zafar Bhatti
Photo: Pakistan Christian Post

Pakistani pastor, Zafar Bhatti, has been in prison since July 2012, after being accused of sending blasphemous text messages. In May 2017, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The accused pastor denies any involvement in the texts, stating that the phone in question was not even registered in his name (see this report).

After numerous delayed appeal hearings, a court in Rawalpindi ruled on June 22nd, 2021, to uphold the sentence, despite the fact that new evidence had been presented proving Pastor Zafar's innocence. His lawyers now intend to appeal to the High Court.

Pastor Zafar suffers from multiple health concerns. In addition to being diagnosed with diabetes, he has experienced two minor heart attacks during 2019, and another in September 2020. His eyesight is also poor, and he requires cataract surgery, which is scheduled to take place this fall, thanks to the provision of financial assistance.

Please continue to lift up Pastor Zafar in your prayers, asking God to provide him greatly needed healing, renewed strength and courage as he awaits the declaration of a favourable outcome by the High Court. In the meanwhile, may he experience the wonderful peace and hope that comes from knowing Christ as his personal Saviour and the help of God's Spirit as his Advocate, Vindicator and Deliverer. In addition, pray for Pastor Zafar's wife Nawab who was recently injured due to a fall. May she too receive needed healing and encouragement through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

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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