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Asia Bibi and other blasphemy victims will spend another Christmas alone in Pakistan

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While the worlds attention is focused on freedom for blasphemy victim Asia Bibi over a dozen other innocent Christians are still languishing in prison cells awaiting their own appeal to Pakistan's blasphemy laws.  We remind our readers of those we have to pray for over Christmas. 

To the world freedom for Asia Bibi after 9.5 years of brutal incarceration is regarded as a victory for justice, despite no arrest or convictions being placed on the persecutors who had falsified their witness testimonies to imprison Asia Bibi. 

Moreover, the Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, in a meeting with Wilson Chowdhry, affirmed the official position that the appeal process against the acquittal is legitimate and said in no uncertain terms that the court process would run its course, a reality that has been confirmed by politicians and diplomats worldwide. That being said they have all now also confirmed to the BPCA that the Supreme Court hearing of a petition  challenging Asia Bibi's acquittal will now be heard in January, meaning Asia Bibi will have to spend another Christmas locked in a room, albeit in the presence of her husband now that she is allegedly free.

Wilson Chowdhry said: 

"Despite her joy at being free I cannot believe that Asia Bibi is feeling like much of a winner today.  Especially as she remains under police protection in Pakistan at a secret location unable to even exit the room she is in for fear she will be instantly killed, while she is forced to await a Supreme court hearing of a petition in January calling for her acquittal to be quashed. 

"Christmas will be a lonely time for Asia Bibi and her husband Ashiq as they spend it together away from other family members as we know the appeal will not be heard before Christmas and is expected during the early part of the new year."

One of the many forgotten victims is teenager Patras Masih (17 yrs) who was arrested in February this year after it was said that blasphemous texts had been found on a phone that he had given to a repair shop (click here). Patras gave himself up to police to save the lives of his family after a mob of three thousand Muslims gathered near his home calling for him to be lynched.  Days later his cousin Sajid Masih (25 yrs) was also arrested and was nearly killed when he leapt from the second floor window of the Federal Investigation Authority building to escape a beating and attempts made by the authorities to force him to engage in a sex act on Patras Masih (click here).

Patras Masih is still seeking an appeal date for his blasphemy charges and has suffered bullying and attempts on his life while incarcerated.  Sajid Masih has had a temporary reprieve from the court actions against him as he struggles to recover from his injuries, not one of the officers involved in the despicable torture on him has been punished for their acts of violence in contravention of FIA guidelines, policies and international laws such as the 'The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment' (the “Torture Convention”), which Pakistan has ratified.  Both cousins have always stated they are innocent of the blasphemy charge and believe some youths they had a altercation with over a cricket match just prior to the allegations, paid the repair shop to allow them to tamper with Patras's phone.



Mehwish Bhatti with parents of Patras Masih last week.

Mehwish Bhatti recently met the family of Patras Masih to inquire into their current situation. The mother of Patras said:

"I am very forlorn, my son will miss Christmas while he languishes in a very dangerous jai where he is hated by the many Muslim inmates. 

"He still has to wait a long time before he will have opportunity to appeal his conviction and will have lost many years of his life.  

"He is a young devout Christian boy who volunteered regularly at his local church, he did not commit any blasphemy - Christians never do.

"I will continue to pray for his release and trust our almighty God will set him free from jail just as they have for our poor sister Asia Bibi. 

Wilson Chowdhry, spoke out against this injustice, he said:

"The shameful behaviour enacted against these two young is a travesty that has robbed them of their innocence and youth.

"How can something as simple and common as having a cellphone cause these young men to fall into such trouble?

"We hope the new year brings restored hope in the future: exoneration for Patras and healing  for Sajid."  


Mehwish Bhatti also continued her visiting regime checking on other blasphemy victims by travelling to Gujrat on the 29th October 2018.  She visited Nadeem Masih (37) father of two children who was accused of messaging a blasphemous poem on Whats App back on 12th July 2018.

Nadeem who was a resident of Father Colony Sara-e-Alamgir,district Jhelum initially went on the run from police after being accused of blasphemy by a former friend.  However after the woman's relatives were arrested in his stead and local Muslims threatened to burn down his community, he handed himself to police.

Nadeem has been imprisoned in Gujrat for two years over a petty jealousy and you can learn more about his story (here)

Since the incident  BPCA provided financial, and emotional support to Nadeem's family and continue to keep them in our prayers. In two months time we are required to raise funds to help with a legal challenge to the High Court in Gujrat as we appeal for the acquittal of Nadeem Masih.  If you can help us raise the 1000 GBP required to start the appeal please donate by clicking (here).



Pana Medley, Children of Nadeem Masih, Mehwish Bhatti and Brother Leighton Medley BPCA Missionary.

Mehwish Bhatti planned a trip to visit Nadeem at Gujrat Central Jail for men alongside Nadeem's Elder brother Faryad Masih who was traveling from another city to join her on the visit to Nadeem. 

They met in Gujrat about mid-morning. Mehwish  described her mixed feelings about the visit which was both full of joy and rather nerve-racking due to the high security measures employed at the large prison.

Often blasphemy alleged must prepare their own food out of fear of poisoning, so our officer took special care to buy some fruit and food for Nadeem.

Being investigated at the gate is part of the protocol and she was sent to a security checking room where she was body checked by a female police officer prior to entry. Her mobile phone was taken and, then together she went with Faryad into a big waiting room where all other family members of other prisoners were waiting to meet his brother.

They waited almost for 2 hours and were the last to go in for a visit. Nadeem Masih is on death row and so he is kept in isolation in the same manner as rapists and murderers. His solitary confinement allows him access to day light for one hour every three months.

Mehwish had to speak to  Nadeem through a cage and he described how in these most lonely days of his life, he has become closer to God. He is engaging in regular Bible study now and has turned his loneliness into happiness by praying and meditating on the word of God. He misses his children  immensely but truly believes God will release him from his captivity soon.  Only a short 30-minute meeting was permitted and Mehwish was pleased to experience Nadeem's palpable faith in God. 

Far from feeling sorry for himself Nadeem notices the needs of others, including those who are in charge of guarding him.

Nadeeem described a wonderful experience of the power of God, when one day a guard watching Nadeem was suffering from a severe headache. When Nadeem asked the guard about the pain he was told the pain had been present for the last few months.  Moreover the guard insisted he had to use pain killers to reduce the ache - 'it never gets better'.

Nadeem offered to pray  for him and humored but not really taking it seriously the guard smiled and responded; 'Go ahead and try'.

Nadeem prayed and rebuked the headache in Jesus name. As the prayer ended the startled officer couldn't believe it. All the pain was gone and he asked Nadeem about the ‘magic’ he had done. Nadeem explained that it's not  magic but a miracle God has done in your life. The officer was thankful for the healing, but a little unnerved by it because he was a  little afraid of losing his job. Since then however the headache has gone and the guard is on good terms with Nadeem.

Mehwish Bhatti said:

"Nadeem loves reviewing the book of Proverbs where he says he receives a lot of wisdom. He was thankful to me for taking a risk to meet him in the jail.

"He has requested prayer from the global Christian community especially during the holy time of Christmas.

"He calls for prayers that his hearing may be heard in the High court soon and that he gets released.

"After meeting him I went to see his two children, Muskan and Samuel believe that God will send their dad home soon lets our prayers support their desire.”


British Pakistani Christian Association has continued to track and support 14 Christian blasphemy accused, besides Asia Bibi throughout the years.

Report on Blasphemy victims still in Jail Date
Victims
Shugafta & Shafqat
Accusation of Sending Blasphemous msg Jul-2013
Shezad Masih Using Blasphemous words
Jul-2017
Qaiser Ayub Using Blasphemous words
Nov-2014
Sawan Masih
Blasphemous Comments Nov-2013
Imran Masih Blasphemous Video in phone May-2016
Nabeel Masih Posting a derogatory image on social media Oct-2016
Perzvaiz Masih Using Blasphemous words
Sep-2015
Patras Masih Posting a derogatory image on social media Feb-2018
Awais Qamar
Using PVC banner as carpet which had religious words Jul-2015
Humayun Faisal Burnt shreds of the Quran in a pile of Garbage May-2015
Ishfaq Masih Using Blasphemous words
Jun-2017
Asif Stephen Burning of Quran                                 
Aug-2017
Nadeem Masih Blasphemous poem through text msg
Oct-2015
Yaqoob Bashir
Burning Booklet containing Quranic verses Jun-2015

British Pakistani Christian Association, continues to provide advocacy and humanitarian aid to Christians in Pakistan and the Pak-Christian diaspora. We cannot do it without your help please donate by clicking (here)

 

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