Pakistan Frees Christians Jailed For "Blasphemy"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | Tag Cloud

Worthy News Asia News Service

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (Worthy News) -- Two Christian brothers accused of "blasphemy" against Islam in Pakistan were free Wednesday, April 22, after they were unexpectedly released from prison, but concerns remained over their future, Pakistani Christians and rights activists said.

Naveed Aziz, 17, and his elder brother Pastor Shafiq Masih, 35, were released from prison last week, April 16, after police and Christian groups were able to negotiate a settlement with their accusers out of court, rights group International Christian Concern (ICC) told Worthy News.

The two brothers were detained in January, when a Muslim mob reportedly burned their house and stoned them.

Their troubles began when Aziz was accused of blasphemy on January 27 in a school in the city of Narrowal in Punjab province where a fellow student noticed a pamphlet in his bag, according to Christian advocacy group Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS).

It said that following the discovery, a teacher proceeded to search Naveed's bag, confiscate the pamphlet, and report him to the school principal.

Soon after, a group of angry Muslim students crowded the principal's office, demanding that Naveed be expelled from the school and handed over to police, rights activists said. The principal apparently attempted to calm down the situation, but did agree to expel Naveed from the school.

"News of Naveed's pamphlet spread, however, and one week later Muslim students from nearby high schools and colleges conducted a rally against Naveed. Radical Muslim groups persuaded the mob to seize Naveed and his brother, Pastor Shafiq Masih...burn their house and stone them," ICC said. Police reportedly intervened by arresting the two brothers and taking them to prison.

"This provides a rare case of Pakistani police defending Christian minorities, as the police did not permit the accusers to file a court case against the two men," ICC explained.

Instead, when a Christian legal group came to investigate the situation, they reportedly found that police were attempting to allow a local "Peace Committee" to negotiate an out-of-court agreement between the Muslim accusers and the two brothers. As a result of intervention by CLAAS, the two brothers were finally released on April 16 after spending two and a half months in prison,  ICC said.

However ICC warned that it remained concerned about the brothers' future. "Even the accusation of blasphemy can stigmatize a person in Pakistan for life, and Christian leaders fear that these two Christian men will not be able to continue their work and school due to this incident," the group stressed.

Pakistan's government has come under increasing international pressure to protect Christian and other minorities in the mainly Islamic nation.

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2 thoughts on “Pakistan Frees Christians Jailed For "Blasphemy"”

  1. The LORD our God is so faithful. How wonderful is His work in the lives of His people. He is not limited by man's foolishness and He will bless as He chooses, where He chooses and whom He chooses.

    Whether He appoints us to live or die, however, when we are in His hands, it is truly gain, as Paul expressed so eloquently.

    How often also, He will use the most unlikely subjects to work through, for the accomplishment of His purposes like the policemen in this story, where radical Islam rules.

    If we could only learn to truly rest in our Father, ABBA, and just allow Him to work in and through our lives and circumstances without the interference of our own carnal evaluations and judgments.

    El Shaddai is so much more, in every respect, than we can possibly conceive of and He is ever so capable of moving silently and yet powerfully.

    May our FIRST and foremost desire always be to KNOW Him.

    MATT ye first..........

    HAB 2:4 by faith
    II COR 5:7....walk by faith and not by sight......
    HEB 11:6.....for it is impossible to please God without faith.........

    All Glory and Praise belongs to the LORD forever and ever.

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