Pakistani Christian remains jailed after 2 years

09/14/2022 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Recently, a local court denied bail to a 57-year-old Christian, Anwar Masih, imprisoned in Pakistan for blasphemy. Pakistani police initially arrested Masih in June 2020 for allegedly blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad. Again, however, Masih’s case is an example of Muslims weaponizing Pakistan’s blasphemy laws against Christians.

Masih’s wife and daughter, who married a Muslim in 2017, both converted to Islam away from Christianity. This naturally created tension between Masih’s wife and daughter and the rest of Masih’s family, who remained deeply Christian.

Masih’s wife enlisted the local police to mediate between the two religious sides of the family, but when the police got involved she chose to launch a legal assault on Masih rather than ameliorate the dispute. As one of Masih’s sons told AsiaNews, the Christian family members received death threats and were forced into hiding. The authorities, however, completely ignored the persecution against them and focused only on pursuing the blasphemy case against Masih.

Despite the unfairness of the situation, Masih’s son claimed that he and his Christian family members remained committed to their faith in God even unto death. Human rights defenders and organizations also remain resolute in their opposition to Pakistani authorities’ abuse of the country’s blasphemy laws. Organizations like Voice for Justice have repeatedly criticized Pakistan’s justice system, pointing to the biased treatment of religious minorities by the dominant Muslim majority.

Masih’s case is far from the only case of Christian persecution via these blasphemy laws. Fortunately, however, there have been positive developments for these persecuted Christians in 2022. According to the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Bishops of Pakistan, six Christians accused of blasphemy have been released on bail this year. We pray that these small but significant triumphs herald future systemic change and real justice for Christians in Pakistan.

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