Pakistan: “Devout” Christian Mother in Prison for Alleged Blasphemy

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A devoutly Christian woman in Pakistan has been refused bail and faces a 10-year jail sentence for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims, Morning Star News (MSN) reports.

A 28-year old wife and mother of a small child, Stella Khawar, 28, was arrested on May 12 at her relatives’ home in Kharota Syedan, in the Kotli Loharan area of Sialkot District, Punjab Province, MSN reports. She is currently in prison, leaving her 4-year-old daughter in the care of her husband Khawar Shahzad. Her lawyer has said he will apply for bail in the sessions court now.

Stella was charged under Section 295-A and Section 505 of Pakistan’s blasphemy statutes for allegedly committing two offenses on Aug. 27 and Jan. 7, MSN reports. The statutes under which she was charged carry sentences of 10 years and seven years respectively. The charges were brought a Muslim prayer leader Syed Jawad Ali who said unidentified individuals had distributed blasphemous written content in the village.

In a statement to MSN, Stella’s husband Khawar described his wife as a “devout Christian” who may be suffering persecution following the widely reported attacks on churches and homes of Christians in Jaranwala in August last year. “After the August 16, 2023 attacks on churches and homes of Christians in Jaranwala, there have been three or four incidents in our village in which blasphemous content was found written on currency notes and other material, including shopping bags,” Shahzad noted. “This caused a lot of tension in our locality, but no one knew who was behind these actions.”

“We were at my in-laws’ house on May 12 when police came and took Stella into custody,” Shahzad said. “They claimed that they had ‘concrete’ evidence that she was responsible for the incidents of alleged blasphemy. We were dumbfounded by the allegation, but there was nothing we could do to stop the police from taking Stella with them.”

Ruled by a harsh Islamic government, Muslim-majority Pakistan ranks 7 on the Open Doors World Watch List 2024 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
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Copyright 1999-2024 Worthy News. This article was originally published on Worthy News and was reproduced with permission.


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