Two Christian evangelists are being charged with violating Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law and could face a mandatory death sentence if found guilty.
The two Christians are being accused of making derogatory remarks against Islam, the Koran, and offending the religious sentiments of a Muslim while preaching in Lahore.
On 13 February, Haroon Ayub Masih and Salamat Mansha Masih were reportedly preaching in Model Town Park, located in Lahore. While preaching, the two Christians met Haroon Ahmad, a Muslim, and several of Ahmad’s friends.
Source: International Christian Concern
According to the First Information Report, the two Christians gave Ahmad a Christian book entitled Water of Life and began to discuss the divinity of the prophets and Jesus Christ.
This discussion with Ahmad turned into an argument that ended with Ahmad accusing the Christians of making derogatory remarks against Islam.
Police have charged the two Christians with committing blasphemy under Sections 295-A, 295-B, and 295-C of Pakistan’s Penal Code. If found guilty, the two Christians could face execution as Section 295-C carries a mandatory death sentence.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Accusations are inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynching, vigilante murders, and mass protests.
Since Pakistan added Section 295-B and 295-C to the country’s blasphemy laws in 1987, the number of blasphemy accusations have skyrocketed. Between 1987 and 2017, 1,534 individuals in Pakistan are being accused of blasphemy. Out of that 1,534, 829 accusations (54%), were against religious minorities. With Christians only making up 1.6% of Pakistan’s total population, the 238 accusations (15.5%) made against Christians is disproportionate.
Currently, 24 Christians are in prison due to blasphemy charges in Pakistan. These 24 Christians are defendants in 21 blasphemy cases represented at various levels of the judicial process in Pakistan.
Let us pray.
- Pray the Lord would give these two men, the patience they need to endure a lengthy legal process. Ask Him to strengthen the faith of these men.
- Pray they will trust God and His timing and purposes. Pray too that they will have opportunities to see God at work through them, even while in prison.
- Pray for all others who have been falsely accused. Ask for justice.