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Maryam Lal and Navish Arooj - Photo: Morning Star News
Maryam Lal and Navish Arooj with officers.
Photo: Morning Star News

In a decision referred to as "unprecedented," a Pakistani court granted bail for two Christian nurses who were accused of "defiling the Quran." The women received bail on September 23rd, but the decision was kept secret to avoid backlash from militant Islamists.

On April 9th, Maryam Lal and Navish Arooj were directed by their superior to remove any stickers and wall hangings off the walls of the hospital in Faisalabad. In obeying, however, the nurses were accused of desecrating wall hangings containing verses from the Quran. For more details on the event, as well as a video report, go to this report.

News of the release was only made public on November 19th after a photo was published showing the two Christians holding a victory sign. The attorney representing the women, Atif Jamil Paggan, states that they are currently in a secure location, since it is unsafe for them to return to their homes. Their lawyer is optimistic that they will be completely absolved of the charges. Even if acquitted, however, it will be impossible for the nurses to return to work at the hospital, or even for them to collect any outstanding wages. "We are hoping that the situation remains under control," states Atif, "but the danger of violent protests will always loom."

In court, the accused Christians admitted to removing a torn sticker with a prayer on it. However, when granting bail, the judge presiding over their case ruled that there was no proof supporting the claim that Maryam and Navish intentionally defiled the Quranic inscription. "Charging someone with blasphemy for simply holding a religiously inscribed sticker is not sufficient evidence," he concluded.

Praise God that Maryam and Navish have been released! May the courts fully acquit these dedicated followers of Jesus of the charges against them. Please pray for their safety, as well as that of their families, legal representatives, and all others involved in their case. Also pray that politicians in Pakistan will listen to the arguments being presented by human rights activists around the world and, as a result, abolish the widely abused blasphemy laws.