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In January 2022, A Christian man Zafar Bhatti longest serving blasphemy victim given death sentence

In January 2022, Pakistan’s longest serving blasphemy victim given death sentence under 295C by a sessions court. Zafar Bhatti, a Christian leader, was arrested in 2012.

In July 2012 Pastor Zafar Bhatti was imprisoned in Rawalpindi’s Adyala Central Jail. The charge against him was sending blasphemous text messages. The 56-year-old is still incarcerated awaiting execution. He is now the longest-serving victim of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. He has been in prison longer than Asia Bibi, who spent nine years in a cell, much of it also under threat of death.

A district court in Rawalpindi has sentenced a Protestant pastor, Zafar Bhatti, 58, to death for blasphemy, in prison since 2012. The Christian leader was accused of sending blasphemous SMS text messages. Zafar Bhatti was sentenced to life imprisonment on May 3, 2017 under Articles 295 (a) and 295 (c) of the Penal Code of Pakistan for dishonoring the Prophet Muhammad and his mother. Before his arrest in 2012, Pastor Zafar Bhatti had founded the charity organization "Jesus World Mission" to assist the poor and ran a house church.

A local Islamic leader back in July 2012 had forced the New Town police station in Rawalpindi to lodge a complaint against an unregistered mobile number for sending messages insulting the mother of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. He threatened that his organisation would take matters into its own hands if investigation for blasphemy was not opened under Section 295-C of the Penal Code. According to Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, section 295-C of the Penal Code demand mandatory death to anyone who uses derogatory remarks for the Prophet.

According to a complaint filed by an unknown person, the police arrested Pastor Zafar Bhatti for blasphemy. After investigating the mobile phone number, the service provider revealed that the SIM card number used to send text messages was not registered in his name. A Muslim woman named Ghazala Khan was found to be the owner of the SIM card number used to send blasphemous text messages.

The court tried the woman in April 2013 and granted her bail. From day one, Zafar Bhatti denied the charges against him. He is currently the longest-serving prisoner for blasphemy and the first to receive a death sentence.

6 January, 2022, a sessions court judge in Pakistan’s Rawalpindi district sentenced to death Zafar Bhatti (51), the longest-serving blasphemy convict who has been rotting in Pakistan jail since 2012. Zafar Bhatti who belongs to the Christian community has been sentenced to death under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code.


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