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On October 5th, James Masih from Layyah, Punjab, was accused of blasphemy by a patient in the hospital where he worked. Although the accused Christian man was a sanitation worker at the hospital, his duties also included assisting outpatients and staff in the emergency ward.

On the day he was wrongly accused, a Muslim widow named Nazia came in for a medical checkup. James instructed the patient to go to a specific room to have her blood pressure checked, but she refused. Finally, a staff nurse came by to give the same instructions, which Nazia heeded.

Later, while undergoing further medical tests, Nazia spotted James and accused him of saying something disrespectful towards the Islamic prophet Muhammad, which he denied. James then spoke with the doctor tending to Nazia, who assured him that when she came back from the tests, he would talk to her. When she returned, the doctor called James in and asked Nazia about the accusations, which she repeated. While this was happening, another patient recorded the incident on his mobile phone and, unbeknownst to James, posted it on social media.

The video quickly spread online and was picked up by a local television station who reported the story as "a worker at the hospital committing blasphemy." Understanding the danger of this situation, James went into hiding, along with his family.

According to James' wife Shumaila, the incident relates to a previous financial disagreement. Nazia had earlier claimed that Shumaila owed her 4,000 rupees (around $25 CAD) for rikshaw services provided by her late husband. Despite Shumaila clarifying that she only owed 400 rupees, Nazia became abusive towards Christians in general, saying they were all dishonest. This discussion happened only a few days before Nazia's accusations against James.

While no legal charges are pending against the Christian man, the accusations were enough to "convict" him in the eyes of public opinion. As Shumaila explained, "[Nazia's] false accusations have endangered our whole family's lives and, if it's not resolved, we have no future. My children have already stopped going to school, and we have no permanent place to live, but are moving from one place to another."

There is, unfortunately, no recourse for the Masih family. "False accusers are never brought to justice," explains Nasir Saeed, Director of CLAAS-UK, "and this continues to encourage people to take the law into their own hands and make false accusations against other persons to settle their personal scores." For more reports on incidents of persecution against Christians in Pakistan, go to our country report.

Remember James, his wife Shumaila, along with others of their family, in your prayers. May they find a place of safety and stability where they can peacefully reside. Pray that Pakistan's authorities will begin to take false accusations seriously, providing needed justice to this family and the many other Christians throughout Pakistan who have been wrongly accused of blasphemy. May God also work in the life of James' accuser, Nazia, praying that as she mourns the loss of her husband, she will sense His comfort and peace which we hope would be more fully experienced through her turning to faith in Christ Jesus.

Current Ministry Projects

Throughout Pakistan, VOMC’s ministry partners are providing Christian women with practical skills training in sewing so they can obtain a sustainable source of income for their families, as well as needed spiritual encouragement to strengthen 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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