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A Paralyzed Man and His Wife Battle Blasphemy Charges in Pakistan

KangarooCourt_8592Kangaroo Justice for Blasphemy Victims:

In July 2013, Shafaqat Emmanuel, a Christian man with paralysis and loss of sensation in his lower body, and his wife, Shagufta Kausar, found themselves ensnared in a grave legal battle in Gojra District, Pakistan. The couple was charged with the serious accusation of sending blasphemous text messages to local Muslims, an allegation that led to their arrest and subsequent detention in Toba Tek Singh Jail. Their plight drew the attention and support of Farrukh Saif, who provided shelter for their four children and Emmanuel Masih, the children’s grandfather.

For the following six months, legal advocates worked tirelessly to navigate the complex judicial system in an effort to secure bail for Kausar and Emmanuel from both the Session Court and the High Court of Lahore. Despite their efforts, their bail applications were repeatedly denied, with a directive from the High Court for the trial to be expedited within 60 days—a decision influenced by pressure from Muslim clerics and local legal practitioners in Gojra City.

The defense faced significant intimidation and threats from religious clerics and was further challenged by a judiciary that appeared biased against Emmanuel and Kausar. Notably, Mian Amir Habib, the Additional Session Judge overseeing the case, exhibited a predisposition towards the prosecution, casting a shadow over the fairness of the trial. There is a growing concern among advocates and observers that Habib’s stance could result in a disproportionately harsh sentence for the couple, including a potential death sentence for Emmanuel and a lengthy prison term for Kausar.

This case has sparked outrage and concern among human rights organizations and international observers, highlighting the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan to persecute minority communities. Despite the critical condition of Emmanuel, who has been hospitalized due to severe bedsores, and the dire situation faced by his family, there has been a lack of substantial international response and pressure on Pakistani authorities to ensure justice and uphold human rights standards.

The international community, including human rights organizations and governments around the world, is urged to intensify their calls for justice for Shafaqat Emmanuel, Shagufta Kausar, and their children. This case not only underscores the urgent need for legal reform in Pakistan regarding blasphemy laws but also calls for immediate humanitarian intervention to prevent further injustice and suffering for this family.

Latest update in April 2023: the situation surrounding blasphemy laws in Pakistan remains a contentious issue, with several cases similar to that of Emmanuel and Kausar highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by religious minorities in the country. It’s crucial for continued advocacy and support from international human rights groups and legal advocates to bring attention to these cases and work towards a more just and equitable legal system in Pakistan.

Source article from ECSPE

By Max Gibson

Max Gibson, also known as Mosheh, holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and has competed on his college's crew, cross country and track and field teams. Max co-founded the College Republicans and has run successful businesses, including Apex Web Services, which serves as CTO for non-profits Farrukh Saif Foundation and 'Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved.' He has been in a leadership position in the non-profit sector since 2011. In addition to his business pursuits, Max is a combat veteran of three major wars and is known for his generosity and strong belief in God.
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