The Pakistan death-row prison cell in Multan Women’s Jail which held Asia Bibi for 8 years before her recent release and relocation to Canada, now holds another Christian mother also found guilty of blasphemy under the country’s notorious blasphemy laws.
Shagufta Kausar and her husband Shafqat Masih were arrested 2013 at Gojra town after a local mosque prayer leader accused Masih of using Kausar’s mobile phone, with her “connivance”, to send blasphemous text messages in English.
This was despite both Kausar and Masih being illiterate in their own language and unable to speak, much less read and write English.
After local police arrested the couple, a mob surrounded the police station demanding that they hand over the couple to be killed.
Due to security concerns, their trial was held inside the prison. In 2014, against a total absence of eyewitnesses or forensic evidence, without the submission of the phone or SIM card, the couple were found guilty and sentenced to death, the first couple to receive such a sentence under the blasphemy laws.
Since their conviction, Kausar and Masih have been held in different jails and have not seen each other as they wait for their appeal hearing, for which no date has yet been set since their application was submitted in 2014.
In the meantime, their four children, aged from nine to fifteen, are in the care of an aunt. Kausar had been the breadwinner as Masih is wheelchair-bound from a spinal injury in 2004.
The comparatively high number of blasphemy charges against Christians in Pakistan has been attributed to their low status in society, the fact that many of them come from the “untouchable” Dalit caste, and the perceived association of Christianity with the West.
HOME GROUP PRAYER
“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless,” Isaiah 10:1–2 NIV.
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you,” Psalm 89:14 NIV.
We come before you as our LORD and God, recognising that as your Word says, righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
We come, LORD, united in prayer and thought for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan who are suffering persecution daily under draconian blasphemy laws which have been unfairly imposed on the people and abused.
Father, we ask you for justice for all the people of Pakistan and that the eyes of their leaders now be opened to see their wrongs, and that they may now turn from their wrongs and onto your paths of justice and righteousness.
We pray also, Father, for our brother and sister, Shafqat Masih and Shagufta Kausar, who have been unjustly accused, convicted, sentenced, imprisoned and who now languish on death row.
We pray, Father, that as you recently released our sister Asia Bibi from the same circumstances, that you will now set free and reconcile their family and in that, we pray that you will glorify your Name for all to see and do that which only you can do.
Oh LORD, let all see that you are in control.
We also pray, LORD, for the leaders of Pakistan, that you will remove the veils from their minds, the scales from their eyes, such that they will govern Pakistan in righteousness and justice, and that one day soon, Pakistan may become a sheep nation.
In the mighty Name of Christ Jesus, we pray.
Materials used by kind permission of the original author.