Prayers for ‘blasphemy victims’ in Pakistan

Christians and Muslims unite in peaceful protest

Muslims in Pakistan have joined with Christians for a day of fasting and prayer for the wellbeing of Asia Bibi and Sawan Masih, the high-profile victims of the country’s blasphemy laws.

Following last week’s death sentence handed down on Masih, together with another delay in the appeal hearing for Bibi, citizens frustrated by continuing abuses of the blasphemy law took to the streets to Lahore on April 4 for peaceful demonstrations.

“We join our Christian brothers and sisters in solidarity,” Aqeel Mehadi, a human rights activist told AsiaNews of the Muslim participation. “As a Muslim, I am disgusted by what has happened and what continues to happen.”

Despite the embarrassment caused to Pakistan by international criticism of the 2012 arrest and trial of 14-year-old Rimsha Masih under blasphemy legislation, the country has been thus far unable or unwilling to deal effectively with what many opponents call the ‘black law’, through which numerous minority community members are arrested every year.

Sawan Maish has now launched a legal challenge to his death sentence.