(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)
Sawan Masih sitting with his family; all faces pixelated except Sawan's.
Sawan Masih and his family.
Photo: Steadfast Global

When Christians who are falsely accused of blasphemy in Pakistan are acquitted, there are justifiable reasons for praise and thanksgiving. However, for these accused believers, as well as their families, severe persecution often continues even after the acquittal. In the well-known case of Asia Bibi, for example, international concern eventually led to her needful escape from Pakistan to Canada. Well after her release from prison, threats against the Christian woman's life continued to follow.

On October 5th, 2020, a Christian man by the name of Sawan Masih was likewise formally acquitted of all charges against him. He had served more than six years in prison after a neighbour accused him of blasphemy. (See this page for more details on his case.)

Since Sawan's acquittal, however, he and his family have remained virtual prisoners; for they still must live with daily threats against them. Immediately following the verdict, Sawan and his family were taken to a safehouse provided by CLAAS, an organization that advocates for persecuted Christians in Pakistan. He lived in the one-room lodging with his wife and their three children.

In the two years following the acquittal, the family has not been able to resume any semblance of "normal" life. The day Sawan was acquitted, his father passed away. Yet, the accused man was unable to attend the funeral due to ongoing threats. Culminating the added injustice and pain experienced following his family's loss, Sawan's mother died in April 2022. Once again, because of the continuing risk that Islamic militants would attack him, he was unable to visit her before she died – nor could he attend the funeral following her passing.

During the previous year's Christmas season, Sawan reflected on his family's situation by saying: "Christmas is the greatest festival for every Christian to celebrate with relatives, friends and Christian community, but for us it seems to be a time of grief and despair. Being in the same city, we cannot meet our loved ones. How helpless and disappointed we are at this Christmastime."

Last year, one of VOMC's ministry partners, Steadfast Global, was contacted by close relatives of the Masih family. The organization, working together with Church in Chains, was able to provide Sawan and his family with more suitable living accommodations, along with additionally needed financial support. The organizations are continuing to work diligently to provide a way for the family to leave the country, petitioning the United Kingdom government to grant them settlement in a location where a guaranteed support framework is already in place.

Pray that the opportunity will soon come for the Masih family to live freely, without fear and ongoing threats to their lives. Despite their present desperate situation, may these persecuted believers be filled with the Lord's strength, peace and joy. Ask God to also greatly bless the efforts of those who have worked so diligently to provide for the needs of these Christians in the interim. Finally, may the Lord also mightily work in the minds and hearts of the United Kingdom authorities, making a way for this family to safely leave Pakistan.

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.

end

Select a Region

Pakistan News

  • Family Under Threat Unless Father Renounces Christianity
    Men praying
    Photo: VOMC

    Yasir Masih, a father of two, resides in Karachi, Pakistan. Several months ago, the Christian man's wife left their home after being convinced by Yasir's aunt to convert to Islam. Since that time, other members of the family have been pressuring him to also convert.

  • Escaped Child Bride Seeks Annulment
    Anita
    Anita Emmanuel
    Photo: CLAAS UK

    Anita Emmanuel was 16 years old when she was kidnapped by her rickshaw driver over a year ago in Bahawalpur, Pakistan. Since both of her parents worked, arrangements had been made for Muhammad Wasim to drop the Christian teenager off at school each day and then bring h

    ...