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Pakistan: Still Waiting

Asia Bibi and Imran Ghafur have waited for justice for more than seven years. Both are Christians in Pakistan facing life imprisonment for crimes against Islam.

Asia Bibi, her husband, and two daughters, were one of three Christian families in a village of 1,500 families. Her female coworkers had often pressured her to renounce her faith. After a discussion on June 19, 2009, Asia responded to the women by sharing her faith in Christ. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told the women, “and yours is not true.”

The Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia, who was then locked in a closet. An announcement from the mosque loudspeaker declared that Asia would have her face blackened and be paraded through a village on a donkey. Christians informed the police, who immediately rescued her from being beaten, but Muslim authorities later pressed charges against the Christian woman.

Asia and Imran photo

Less than a month later, while Imran Ghafur was cleaning his family’s retail shop, he took some trash out to burn. A neighbor saw the fire and began telling others that Imran had burned pages of the Quran, a serious offence. Police did not arrive to arrest Imran until after neighbors had beaten both Imran and his father. Afterward, local Muslims tried to force Imran’s whole family to leave the colony.

Christians in Pakistan face numerous obstacles in the Muslim-majority nation. Muslims are taught from an early age that Christians are infidels, and even young children face discrimination from teachers and peers. Christian parents often work in places where mistreatment is very common, and they almost always have no recourse.

Authorities charged both Asia and Imran under Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws, and Asia was initially sentenced to death. In July 2015, the Pakistani Supreme Court overturned Asia’s death sentence and ordered a thorough review of the evidence. Currently, there has been no change in the status of her case.

Imran was sentenced to life in prison, though he has appealed this sentence. Last November, a trial was delayed due to the illness of one of the attorneys. Court clerks told his family that a new court hearing would be scheduled, but they have not yet been notified of a new date. 

One thing that has made a difference for both Asia and Imran is to know that many people are concerned and praying for them.

You can write a letter to encourage Asia Bibi and Imran Ghafur in their faith by using Prisoner Alert. Letters are also a vital reminder to authorities that believers around the world are concerned for both of these Christians.

We will not forget.

Posted: August 3, 2016

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