PAKISTAN: Two Christian Teenagers Arrested on Blasphemy Charges

25 May 2023

Source: CSW UK, CLAAS

Two Christian teenagers, one of whom is a minor, were arrested on accusations of blasphemy in the
Qurban Lines area of Lahore, Pakistan on 18 May.

Adil Babar, aged 18, and his neighbour Simon Nadeem, aged 12 (some reports state 14), were charged
with insulting the Prophet Mohammed under Section 295-C of the Pakistani Penal Code after police
constable Zahid Sohail filed a complaint claiming that he heard the two teenagers do so whilst playing in
the street.

He said in his application to the police, that he was going to the mosque for prayers, when he saw the boys,
Simon, and Adil, he alleged that they were both making fun of each other and were calling a puppy
Muhammad Ali.

Adil Babar’s father Babar Sandhu Masih has disputed this account, claiming that he woke to find Constable
Sohail fighting with Mr Nadeem whilst his son tried to intervene. The constable was unable to provide
evidence of any insult when questioned by neighbourhood elders, however later that day local police
arrested the two teenagers on Constable Sohail’s complaint.

Sources also reported that approximately 50 Christian families reside in the Qurban Lines area, and most
of these families fled the area for fear of violence after the accusation was made.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws criminalise anyone who insults Islam, including by outraging religious feelings,
which carries the death penalty or life imprisonment. These laws are poorly defined and require low
standards for evidence. As a result, they are often used as a weapon of revenge against both Muslims and
non-Muslims to settle personal scores or to resolve disputes over money, property or business.

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    Pray for them

    Pray for Adil, Simon and their families. Pray they will receive greatly needed protection, provision and encouragement throughout this ordeal.

    Pray the case will soon be fully resolved. Ask the Lord for His favour during the judicial process.

    Pray for the church in Pakistan; may the believers be strengthened in their faith, even as they face opposition. Pray the church will be unified and strong.

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