Praise the Lord!
A Pakistani Christian man named Pervaiz Masih has been released after being accused and arrested under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws.
Violating Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws brings with it a death sentence and Christians are the number one target.
So, how does one gain their freedom after such a harsh accusation?
The story of this particular arrest began on September 2, 2015, when the case against Mr. Masih was registered.
Police raided his village the day before he was arrested and beat his female relatives in search of him. His wife told them that they did not know where her husband was, but the police would not listen.
Masih was arrested the next day and was taken into custody. He was let out on bail 20 days later to await his fate.
It was three long years of waiting before he would learn what that fate would be, but God was definitely on his side. It seems that when the true cause of his accusation was discovered, it was found to be not “true” at all.
You see, Haji Muhammad Jamshed and Haji Muhammad Bashir had a grudge against Masih.
They were upset that he had acquired a contract for sand from a local dealer because Masih’s prices were better than theirs. Their anger was only exacerbated due to the fact that Masih was a Christian and not a Muslim like themselves. It was this jealousy and hatred that pushed them to accuse their competitor of blasphemy against their believed prophet.
Masih did not even realize that he was being accused until the village mosque’s prayer leader began to spread word that Pervaiz Masih had blasphemed Mohammed at a discussion that had happened weeks prior.
As is usually the case in these situations, rumors spread and protest mobs formed.
According to Masih’s brother, 300 or 400 Muslims from the surrounding areas gathered to chant against the family and even threatened to burn the brother alive in recompense for the blaspheming that they were told had happened.
The family was fearful and has continued to live in fear for the last 3 years, waiting to see if their Masih would receive the feared death sentence.
Finally, the sentence came on January 15th of this year.
Thankfully, after years of prayers, a judge, Ijaz Ahmed Bosal, dropped the charges against Pervaiz Masih. He cited that prosecutors had failed to produce any evidence against him!
This ruling came a month after two other Christians were sentenced to death under the blasphemy laws. They were said to have blasphemed in comments online, though they said that someone else was using the website under their names to do this, they were still accused and given their sentence.
They have appealed and are praying that God will see them acquitted of the charges which were acquired after they had fled Pakistan following an argument with some Muslim friends.
When they arrived back in Pakistan four years later, they were arrested.
Another case that many in the Christian community have heard of is that of Asia Bibi, the mother who was wrongfully convicted on blasphemy charges and spent nine years on death row before finally being released.
Christian Life Daily reported on that situation as it was happening. <link asia bibi article>
Although she now has her freedom, she has been in protective custody due to the danger she is in from the Muslims in her country.
These cases are not isolated.
Since 1990, 62 people have been executed for violating these laws. These blasphemy laws obviously violate the religious freedoms of Pakistan’s citizens.
Because of these laws, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom considers Pakistan a “Country of Particular Concern” which means the U.S. is obligated to exert pressure to push for changes.
This is good news and means that those who have been accused under these laws now have a substantial ally on their side. The prayers and hopes are that Pakistan will someday abolish the laws that so obviously single out anyone who does not agree with Islam or all of its practices.
Pakistan ranked 5th this year on Open Doors 2019 watchlist of the 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.
Let us pray that it does not continue on its pathway to freedom violations.
If you would like to help in the cause against persecuted Christians, please visit www.opendoorsusa.org to find out how.