Pakistan Sentences Christian To Death For Blasphemy

Thursday, September 10, 2020

By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News 

(Worthy News) - Christians have appealed for prayers after a Pakistani court sentenced a Christian man to death by hanging for sending “blasphemous” text messages.

Asif Pervaiz, 37, was sentenced on September 8 following a trial in the eastern city of Lahore that had been running since 2013, case observers told Worthy News. 

It came as a setback for advocacy groups, including Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC), which had campaigned for him. 

“Remember Asif, along with his family, during this time of danger and suffering,” the Christian group wrote to its supporters. “Pray that the courts will rule justly on his behalf and that the government will curb such abuses by revoking the country's blasphemy laws. They have been frequently exploited to target vulnerable Christian minorities.”

The troubles began for Pervaiz when the supervisor of the factory where he worked accused him of sending him text messages containing derogatory remarks about Muslim Prophet Muhammad.


Pervaiz has denied wrongdoing. He told the court that his supervisor made the blasphemy allegations only after he refused to abandon his Christian faith and convert to Islam. 

The complainant's lawyer, Murtaza Chaudhry, denied Pervaiz's version of events. 

Pervaiz’s lawyer told reporters he would appeal the verdict with the Lahore High Court. “He has already spent seven years [in custody]. Who knows how many more years he will have to wait till this is over?" Saiful Malook asked.

The court order said Pervaiz would first serve a three-year prison term for "misusing" his phone to send the “blasphemous” text messages in before being “hanged by his neck till his death.” The man was also fined 50,000 Pakistani rupees ($300).

Insulting Islam is punishable by death in Pakistan, and even rumors of blasphemy can lead to lynching by mobs. In one of those incidents, a Pakistani-American man accused of committing blasphemy was reportedly shot dead in July inside a courtroom in the northwestern city of Peshawar.


Nearly 80 people were known to be imprisoned in the country on blasphemy charges, half of whom face life in prison or the death penalty, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said in its 2020 annual report released in April.

Earlier, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) reportedly said police had filed blasphemy charges against at least 40 people over the last month.

Most of the charges were filed against Shi’as and related to speeches made at religious processions, it said.

International organizations have urged Pakistan to change the blasphemy legislation. 

The controversial law drew international attention when Asia Bibi, a Christian mother, was sentenced to death over alleged blasphemous remarks. She was finally acquitted in 2018 after nine years of imprisonment. 


“Despite Asia's release, the ongoing threats of angered civilians made it necessary for her to flee the country to an undisclosed location in Canada,” VOMC recalled. 

Immigrated family members were awaiting her arrival. 

VOMC said it hopes that one day “religious freedom” be brought to the heavily Islamic nation. “So believers [in Christ] can live in safety and peace among the other members of their communities.”

VOMC said it had urged supporters to also pray for the many other Pakistanis “who are still imprisoned for their faith, along with those like Asia Bibi who has been forced to live in fear beyond the prison walls because of these allegations.”