UPDATE: June 16, 2021
Pakistani Couple Acquitted of Blasphemy Charges
Extremists issue death threats
A Pakistan appeals court has acquitted Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Emmanuel of blasphemy. The Lahore High Court overturned the convictions of the Christian couple on June 3.
The couple has not yet been released from prison. According to their attorney, extremists are publicly calling for their murder.
“The social media are being flooded with hate posts against us and the two judges who ordered the couple’s release,” Saif ul Malook said. “These messages from influential clerics belonging to various religious parties are prompting millions of Pakistani Muslims to kill us so that ‘they may go to paradise.’”
Malook previously represented Asia Bibi. After Asia was acquitted, extremists with an Islamist political party blocked roads and issued death threats, forcing Asia to flee the country.
This year, mobs threatened to kill two Christian nurses accused of blasphemy for cleaning a sticker with a verse from the Quran off a cabinet. Another nurse was beaten by hospital staff and accused of blasphemy after she challenged a co-worker for breaking the rules of receiving money from a patient.
In April, the European Parliament passed a resolution supporting Shagufta and Shafqat and called for the possible withdrawal of Pakistan’s special trade status. They expressed concern over an “alarming increase in the use of blasphemy accusations in the country.”
Originally Posted: June 24, 2020
Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagufta Kausar are two more victims of Pakistan’s unjust blasphemy laws.
The young Christian couple was accused of sending blasphemous texts to a Muslim cleric in 2014. They were sentenced to death and have spent 6 years in separate prisons waiting for Pakistan’s High Court to hear their case.
Their appeal has been repeatedly postponed and is now set for September 2020.
The illiterate couple have four young children. Shagufta was the sole breadwinner of the family since 2004 when her husband Shafqat became paralyzed following an accident that fractured his spinal cord.
The alleged texts were written in English. But neither Shafqat or Shagufta speak or read English. An investigation revealed that the couple was involved in an argument with their accuser months before the blasphemy accusation was made against them.
The children cannot visit their parents for security reasons. After huge protests against the couple, the children were moved to a different region.
Pakistan outlaws insulting Islam and its founder Mohammed. Blasphemy laws are often used for revenge or to obtain someone’s property.
The question is: Will the High Court fairly investigate the facts, or will the judges succumb to pressure and threats of Islamic extremists?
The husband and wife have hope. Last year, Pakistan’s supreme court acquitted Asia Bibi of blasphemy charges and condemned the use of false blasphemy allegations to target religious minorities.
Shagufta and Shafqat are praying that they also receive justice from the court.
Please pray for:
- Pakistan’s High Court to judge with integrity and acquit Shagufta and Shafqat of these false charges.
- Shagufta and Shafqat’s safety from mobs or assassins, as well as for their attorney and judges who rule in their favor.
- The end of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and false accusations that incite violence against Christians.