Save Persecuted Christians in Pakistan
Even following the very public release of Asia Bibi, Christian are being openly persecuted by the Pakistani government for following their faith.
Examples of this persecution are being widely reported in media outlets and verified through information we receive from other non-profits.
Open Doors USA ranks Pakistan the 5th worst offender of Christian persecution on their World Watch List. Their claim is that Christians face “open discrimination and violent attacks.” Furthermore “Under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, Christian persecution is a growing problem and Christians continue to live in daily fear that they will be accused of blasphemy—which can carry a penalty of death.”
This was the nightmare that Asia Bibi lived for nine years when she was imprisoned and placed on death row because of false claims made against her faith. She was released resulting from a persistent public outcry against this injustice.
Now, Asia’s once nightmare is now that of Shagufta Kauser and her disabled husband Shafqat Masih.
Despite these verified reports, in 2019, the United States will provide $837 million in foreign aid funding to Pakistan – the same country that openly sponsors persecution of Christians and other minorities.
We must fight for Shagufta Kauser and Shafqat Masih much as we fought for Asia Bibi.
Sign our petition calling on United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to intervene and secure the immediate release of Shagufta and Shafqat.
Pakistan's blasphemy laws are often used by Muslims to target Christians and other minorities.
Shagufta Kauser and Shafqat Masih are falsely accused of sending blasphemous text messages to a Muslim cleric even though both are illiterate. Not only that, but the text messages were written in English -- a language that neither of them speaks.
Both Shagufta and her husband have been in prison since their arrest in 2013 and they are currently awaiting an appeal against the death sentence which was imposed by the Lahore High Court in 2014.
Before their arrest, Shagufta and Shafqat lived in a church compound in the city of Gojra in the Punjab province in East Pakistan where Shagufta worked as a cleaner and servant at the church’s school. Shagufta was the only breadwinner in the family after her husband became paralyzed from the waist down in an accident in 2004.
Evidence shows that a copy of Shagufta’s identity card was stolen from the human resources file at the church where she worked by a friend of their accuser and then used to purchase a sim card in her name from which the texts were sent.
The prosecutors have been unable to produce any concrete evidence which would point to the couple's guilt; a sim card produced in court was found to be bogus and the phone from which the texts were sent has not been located. After his arrest, Shafqat was tortured into making a confession at the local police station in the hope that it would spare his wife who was also being threatened with torture.
The couple is being represented by the same brave lawyer who defended Asia Bibi, Saif-ul Malook. Along with condemning the torture which Shafqat was subjected to, Shafqat has also expressed concerns that the judge who pronounced the death sentence was intimidated by hardline lawyers and religious leaders in the community.
Both Shagufta Kauser and her husband are reported to be experiencing severe depression having been held apart in separate prisons for over 6 years. Furthermore, a recent doctor’s report has outlined grave fears for the health of Shafqat whose back is almost destroyed from bedsores as he is confined to a prison bed from which he is unable to move.
The couple has four children aged between 9 and 15 who are in the care of their paternal aunt and who are also now in fear for their lives.
For more information:
Pakistani Christian couples death row appeal delayed after six years in prison for blasphemy (The Christian Post):
Pakistan 'blasphemy' death rows couple's plea for freedom (BBC):
Pakistani Couple to Be Tried After Five Years of Imprisonment