Pakistani Christian couple acquitted of blasphemy after 7 years on death row

Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel faced execution for allegedly sending ‘blasphemous’ texts to a mosque cleric, from a phone containing a sim registered in Shagufta’s name. The couple have consistently denied all allegations and believe Shagufta’s National Identity Card was purposely misused. Imprisoned since 2013, the couple were convicted and sentenced to death in April 2014. Their appeal was due to be heard in April 2020, six years after they
were sentenced, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At their last two hearings in 2021, the judges left the court as they were due to hear the appeal against their death sentences,
The Pakistani woman who replaced Christian Asia Bibi in her prison cell on death row, a mother of 4, Shaguftah Kausar, has – after a dozen delays since April 2020 due to COVID-19 – been acquitted from the death penalty by Lahore High court. Kausar, with her disabled husband Shafqat . . . Read More

EU Envoy’s threat of trade sanctions played crucial role in Asia Bibi’s freedom

EU Envoy on religious freedom, Jan Figel, meets with Asia Bibi's lawyer, Saif ul Malook in Lahore, December 2017. (Photo: Jan Figel)
Freed Pakistani Christian Aasiya Noreen, known to the world now as Asia Bibi, has pleaded for the many others like her accused of blasphemy who, she says, are still “lying in jail for years – their decisions should also be done on merit. The world should listen to them. “The . . . Read More

Ten years after fake blasphemy charge, Pakistani Asia Bibi reunited with family

Asia Bibi is finally free, almost one decade after she was first imprisoned. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Asia Bibi’s daughter Eicham was 9 when she saw her mum badly beaten and in front of a mob charged with “blasphemy” against the Prophet Muhammad. For over 9 years, Eicham has visited her on death row in Pakistan. Finally, today, now a young woman at 18, Eicham and her . . . Read More

For persecuted Christian women, violence is compounded by ‘shaming’

Women to women conference in Ethiopia, February 2018.
It would be hard to argue the world is unaware that Islamic State fighters used rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war against Iraq’s Yazidi women: Nadia Murad shared the 2018 Nobel Prize after she told the world of her personal ordeal at their hands. However, testimonies from . . . Read More

Pakistani top court rejects review, setting Christian woman Asia Bibi free

Asia Bibi with Punjab Governor, Salmaan Taseer, who was assassinated for supporting her case. (Photo: Office of the Governor of Punjab)
After nine years in prison for blasphemy, the Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi is free to go after the Supreme Court today, 29 January, upheld her acquittal from the death penalty conviction for blasphemy. The panel considering a review of last year’s verdict by the Supreme Court – which had acquitted her based . . . Read More

Gender-based violence used in persecution of global Christian community

GETTY: Pakistani women protest against twin suicide bombings in Lahore, March 2015
  In the five worst of the 2019 World Watch List’s 50 most difficult places to be a Christian (North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Pakistan), vulnerabilities which are linked to men and women’s social status create space for harsh religious persecution, report the List’s analysts at Open Doors International. . . . Read More

Pakistan joins US list of worst religious freedom violators

Burial of victims of a suicide attack on the Methodist Bethel Church in Quetta, Pakistan, on Sunday 17 December 2017 in which at least 9 people were killed. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Pakistan is among the ten countries that appear on the US State Department’s latest list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) for religious-freedom violations, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced in a press statement on Tuesday, 11 December. China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and . . . Read More