We are called for such a time as this to stand with Shagufta and Shafquat, and to fast and pray for their hearing on Thursday 24th September.

Their story

Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, a Pakistani married couple in their 30s, were sentenced to death for blasphemy in April 2014 after Shagufta allegedly sent blasphemous text messages to a local cleric and a lawyer.

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Shagufta and Shafqat’s appeal was due to be heard on 10 September but was adjourned because one of the two panel judges failed to appear. The hearing has been rescheduled for 24 September. Their case will be presented by Saiful Malook, the lawyer who secured the acquittal of Asia Bibi in October 2018.

Their lockdown

Shafqat is paralysed from the waist down, having fractured his spine in an accident in 2004. He has spent months in hospital because of extremely painful bedsores all over his body. Shagufta and Shafqat lived with their children in a church compound in Gojra, Punjab Province, and she supported the family by working as a cleaner.

They are being held in different prisons about 250 km apart and have not seen each other since 2014: Shafqat is in Faisalabad District Jail, while Shagufta is in Multan Jail, where Asia Bibi was imprisoned – during the last phase of Asia’s detention, they were cell neighbours.

Shagufta and Shafqat are both reported to be suffering from depression. Their four children, who are being cared for by their paternal aunt, are unable to visit for safety reasons.

Our response

The wicked watches the righteous and seeks to slay him. The Lord will not abandon him to his power, or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

Psalm 37:32-33 

This is a promise from the Lord to those who trust in him and are faithful. Let us stand in prayer and fasting for our brother and sister in Christ over the next few days praying through this promise with them for Thursday’s hearing.

It could be a matter of life or death for them. Pray that Justice will be done and that the judges will not fear the demands of the mob and will set Shagufta and Shafquat free to be reunited with the children and family.