Pakistani Christian Family Devastated By Blasphemy Charge


A Pakistani court last month granted bail to a Christian man who was falsely accused and charged with blasphemy, but he and his family have separated and gone into hiding amid threats to their lives.

45-year-old Haroon Shahzad who was charged with blasphemy on June 30 after posting Bible verses on Facebook, was finally released from Sargodha District Jail on Nov. 15, said his attorney, Aneeqa Maria.

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Lahore High Court Judge, Ali Baqir Najfi granted Shahzad bail on Nov. 6, but the decision and his release on Nov. 15 were not made public until now due to security fears for his life, Maria said.

Despite the bail, Shahzad said the false accusation has changed his family’s lives forever.

“My family has been on the run from the time I was implicated in this false charge and arrested by the police under mob pressure,” Shahzad told Morning Star News. “My eldest daughter had just started her second year in college, but it’s been more than four months now that she hasn’t been able to return to her institution. My other children are also unable to resume their education as my family is compelled to change their location after 15-20 days as a security precaution,” he told Morning Star News.

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Though he was not tortured during incarceration, he said, the pain of being away from his family and thinking about their well-being and safety gave him countless sleepless nights.

“All of this is due to the fact that the complainant, Imran Ladhar, has widely shared my photo on social media and declared me liable for death for alleged blasphemy,” he said in a choked voice. “As soon as Ladhar heard about my bail, he and his accomplices started gathering people in the village and incited them against me and my family. He’s trying his best to ensure that we are never able to go back to the village.”

Shahzad has met with his family only once since his release on bail, and they are unable to return to their village in the foreseeable future, he said.

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“We are not together,” he told Morning Star News. “They are living at a relative’s house while I’m taking refuge elsewhere. I don’t know when this agonizing situation will come to an end.”

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