Pakistan: Christian under death sentence finally released

Thursday, December 5, 2013

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)-- A Pakistani Christian under a death sentence for blasphemy was released Friday on appeal by the Lahore High Court.

According to the Pakistan Christian Post, Younis Masih -- who had languished in jail since his arrest in 2005 -- was sentenced to death in Lahore back on May 2007; although an appeal was filed, his case wasn't re-opened until last year. Then on Friday Masih was finally declared innocent of blasphemy by Justices Khaja Ahmed and Khalid Khan of the Lahore High Court.

Masih -- who has four children, but no job or other means of support -- had heard that accused blasphemer Rimsha Masih and her family were relocated to Canada for their own protection. But he wondered why no one cared about his life while he remains hidden among Pakistan's Muslims.

"I have lost my identity," said Masih.

Living in a land where Muslims represent 97 percent of the population, Christians in Pakistan often  face persecution in the form of discrimination and threats, but the one fear that always hangs over them is the country's notorious blasphemy laws.

The life of anyone accused of blasphemy in Pakistan hangs by a thread while they are imprisoned and from vigilante "justice" even after they're released.

"I am living in fear of attacks and do not know when someone will kill me," Masih told Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill, the national director of the Legal Evangelical Association Development.

Asia Bibi -- a Christian mother of five who was convicted of blasphemy back in 2010 -- still remains on death row in Pakistan's Multan Jail after a cleric in Peshawar had offered a reward of 5,000 Euros to anyone who kills her.

In July 2010, two Christian brothers -- Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel -- who were both accused of blasphemy were killed in front of the Court of Faisalabad during their own hearing.