A Pakistani Christian was sentenced to death for “blasphemous text messages”
A thirty-seven-year-old Pakistani Christian named Asif Pervaiz has been sentenced to death for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages in 2013. According to Pervaiz’s attorney, the death sentence was announced by the court despite there being “no evidence” to implicate his client in the case.
The attorney representing Pervaiz in court tweeted that his client had been sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. “Asif Pervaiz sentenced to death by trial court at Lahore for committing blasphemy although there was no such evidence,” the tweet reads.
On the 2nd of October 2013, Pervaiz’ Muslim co-worker named Saeed Ahmeed Khokar accused him of sending blasphemous text messages from his mobile phone.
When Pervaiz became aware of the charges, he went into hiding. After a week of searching for Pervaiz, police arrested several of Pervaiz’s relatives, including two brothers-in-law and his mother, Naseem Akhtar. According to Akhtar, police told her that they would kill Pervaiz when they found him unless she helped them locate her son.
Akhtar led the police to the home of Waseem Anwar, Pervaiz’s brother. There, police beat Waseem until he confessed to knowing where Pervaiz was hidden. Pervaiz was finally arrested by the police in Sahiwal on the 10th of October 2013.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests. Currently, there are twenty-five Christians imprisoned on blasphemy charges in Pakistan, including Asif Pervaiz.