Pakistan Christian Couple On Deathrow Acquitted Of Blasphemy

Thursday, June 3, 2021

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) - A Christian husband and wife in Pakistan who faced execution for sending “blasphemous” texts were acquitted of the charges, a well-informed source tells Worthy News.

Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel have been imprisoned since 2013 and were convicted and sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam in April 2014 by a court in Toba Tek Singh.

However, the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance & Settlement (CLAAS) confirmed to Worthy News that a higher court effectively ruled Thursday that the couple would not be hanged.

“Just to share with you the good news that Emmanuel and Shagufta have been acquitted from blasphemy charges by the Pakistan High Court after eight years,” said Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK.

The couple was detained after sending ‘blasphemous’ phone texts to a mosque cleric insulting the Prophet Mohammad. Prosecutors demanding execution said the messages sent from a mobile phone contained the subscriber identifying SIM card in Shagufta's name.

Both have consistently denied the blasphemy allegations. They said the SIM was obtained by someone using a copy of her National Identity Card.


While both were acquitted Thursday and expected to be released soon, activists remain concerned about the plight of Christians in the Muslim-majority nation.

Samira Hamidi, the South Asian regional director for the rights group Amnesty International warned that the case underscored the need for law changes.

“The mandatory death sentences for Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel are emblematic of the dangers faced by the country’s religious minorities as long as the blasphemy laws remain in place,” Hamidi stressed.

The blasphemy legislation also fueled tensions, according to rights investigators. Since 1987, at least 78 persons have been killed extra-judicially after allegations related to blasphemy and apostasy, data show.

Among more well-known cases was Asia Bibi, a Christian mother-of-five, who was sentenced to death by hanging in 2010 for blasphemy against Islam.

In October 2018, the Supreme Court of Pakistan acquitted her based on insufficient evidence. She was only able to leave the country in May 2019 and received asylum in Canada. However many more Christians face prosecution.