Pakistani husband and wife Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Masih, both Christians, were sentenced to death on 4 April 2014 on a charge of blasphemy. They had been convicted of sending blasphemous text messages to an imam from a phone number registered in Shagufta Kausar’s name.
Now, on 3 June, a final hearing of their appeal will take place at Lahore High Court. The couple are to be represented by Saif ul Malook, who successfully argued for Aasia Bibi to be acquitted of a blasphemy charge in January 2019. Justice Shahbaz Ali Rizvi, who upheld Aasia Bibi’s conviction before it was overturned by the Supreme Court, will preside over the division bench hearing the case.
Please pray for justice to be done and for Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Masih to be freed.
For further background, see articles from the Express Tribune and the BBC.
3 June 2020: The appeal hearing has been delayed, with a new date yet to be announced.
Barnabas Fund reports:
A local pastor called for prayer as he reported, on 6 April, the arrival of a vast swarm of young desert locusts, estimated to cover an area of 100,000 acres (40,500 hectares), in north-eastern Uganda.
The upsurge that was predicted to arrive late April or May has already become a reality in early April. The immature locusts migrated in a dense swarm from Kenya, crossing the border at Karita sub-county, spreading to settle in the Karamoja region, Nakapiripirit district.
“Please continue in prayer for the Christians in Karamoja,” asked a pastor in the region as he told Barnabas that the fresh invasion comes at the “worst possible time”, when farmers in the region are planting new crops in the hope of a much-needed harvest in a few months’ time. The ravenous insects are already destroying recently planted staple crops including maize, beans, millet and sorghum.
Read the full article.
We praise the Lord that press reports of Aasia Bibi’s resettlement in Canada with her family have now been confirmed by Barnabas Fund.
Please pray for the family’s adaptation to living in an unfamiliar culture and climate, separated from their relatives and having to learn a new language.
Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christian Association has reported today that a video is circulating in which a man claims he is in Canada seeking an opportunity to murder Aasia. Please ask the Lord to protect her and her family.
Over a week after the Pakistan Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of Aasia Bibi on blasphemy charges, she remains confined in a locked room and is being prevented from leaving Pakistan to join her daughters in Canada, where they have been granted asylum.
Quoting Aman Ullah, who spoke to Aasia Bibi by telephone yesterday, Aljazeera reported that she is frustrated and frightened, uncertain of when she will be able to leave Pakistan.
“The door opens at food time only,” said Ullah, and she is allowed to make phone calls in the morning and again at night. He said she usually calls her daughters.
Bibi’s husband is with her, he said.
We reiterate our request that you pray that Aasia and her family will now be reunited, be relocated to a place of safety and enjoy the Lord’s permanent protection.
The Pakistan Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking review of the court’s verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi on blasphemy charges.
Read a full account of the court proceedings by Dawn.
Qari Muhammad Salaam, who submitted the review petition, requested the court maintain the death sentence awarded to her by a trial court. Salaam had filed a case against Aasia Bibi and accused her of blasphemy.
The court said that the petitioner’s lawyer could not prove anything wrong with the court verdict.
Please pray that Aasia and her family will now be reunited, be relocated to a place of safety and enjoy the Lord’s permanent protection.
The Express Tribune reported on 25 January that Aasia’s daughters and their guardians have already migrated to Canada.