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Image: Justice scales and gavel

There have been fresh calls within Pakistan's Parliament to reform the nation's blasphemy laws. The resolution follows the mob-killing of a Muslim student on April 13th. Pakistan's top court is now investigating the murder of Mashal Khan who was attacked by his peers for allegedly promoting "blasphemous" content on social media. A total of 45 people have been detained in connection with the mob attack which prompted officials to close the entire campus out of fears for security.

Mashal, a journalism student at the Abdul Wali Khan University in northwest Pakistan, was a self-professed "humanist" and a strong advocate of women's rights and freedom of thought and speech. Although he had not been formally charged under the laws, it is thought that the attack followed rumours about the student's social media postings which were circulating at the university.

As a result of this tragedy, Pakistan's National Assembly passed a resolution condemning the lynching, describing it as "cold-blooded murder." They went on to express their determination to "ensure that strong safeguards may be inserted into the blasphemy law to prevent its abuse through such atrocities in the future."

This isn't the first time that the highly controversial laws have been condemned within Pakistan's Parliament. However, all such calls have faced strong opposition, with one senior politician being assassinated for speaking out on the matter. For more about persecution in Pakistan, click here.

Ask God to mightily intervene in Pakistan so that strong safeguards will indeed be implemented into the blasphemy law, along with strong deterrent penalties for those making such accusations. Pray that He will personally minister to Mashal's family and friends as they grieve over this tragic loss. Also prayerfully uphold the many others who are currently imprisoned for alleged blasphemy, including Asia Bibi and 16-year-old Nabeel Masih. May God preserve and bless His severely persecuted people, while pouring out His Spirit in amazing grace and awesome power so that multitudes in Pakistan will experience transformative revival.

Update on Asia Bibi: Asia's lawyer submitted a request to the Supreme Court asking for her trial to be brought forward to the first week of June. On April 26th, the request was turned down. As her lawyer explains, the authorities are afraid to release her, aware that massive outrage would erupt if she is freed. Islamic clerics have now renewed their call for Asia to be executed, claiming that incidents such as the lynching of Mashal Khan are merely the consequence of Muslim frustration over the delay in Asia's execution. Previous reports on Asia's case may be reviewed here.

Current Ministry Projects

Throughout Pakistan, VOMC’s ministry partners are providing Christian women with practical skills training in sewing so they can obtain a sustainable source of income for their families, as well as needed spiritual encouragement to strengthen their faith and witness for Christ.

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Women’s Ministry

Country Information

Population
238,181,034 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Punjabi (44.7), Pashtun [Pathan] (15.4), Sindhi (14.1), Saraiki (8.4) Muhajirs (7.6) Balochi (3.6), Other (6.3)

Religion (%)
Islam (96.5), Other - Christian and Hindu (3.5)

Leader
President Arif Alvi (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Common law system with Islamic law influence

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Pakistan

Pray that amendments will be made to Pakistan's existing blasphemy laws so that the country's citizens – including its children – will be protected from injustice and abuse. May our Lord's mercy and justice prevail, not only in the judiciary system but also in the hearts of the country's militants. Ask Him to transform their "hearts of stone" into hearts that are receptive to His love, mercy and the workings of His Holy Spirit – not only for the purpose of protecting the Christian minority but also for the salvation of their own eternal souls.

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