Pakistan (MNN) — Ahmed, an influential and strategically placed co-laborer for the Gospel in Pakistan, has been on trial for blasphemy charges since November. Last Friday, a final ruling was given on his case.
FMI’s Bruce Allen shares:
“After being on trial for six months under false charges of blasphemy, brother Ahmed was acquitted by the court in Lahore, and his case has been dismissed. His reputation is intact. His good name has been upheld. And it’s really nothing short of amazing as the typical blasphemy trial in Pakistan drags on for an average of three years.”
Allen says he, Ahmed, and everyone else who’s been intimately involved with this case are grateful to God for this victory. They’re also thankful for the Mission Network News audience who has been praying for Ahmed since last fall and offering words of encouragement to him and his family.
Now that the trial is over, there’s been a bit of financial relief, too. Ahmed was expecting to accumulate three years worth of legal fees. But, he does still has current fees and medical bills he’s responsible for paying. On top of this, when his attorney, Rizvam, was attacked in court earlier this year, some of those medical fees were shifted to Ahmed.
However, as great as this news is, it has been tempered by a second fatwa the accusers had issued against Ahmed on the same day he was acquitted. While the second fatwa doesn’t necessarily add more danger to Ahmed’s life (since the first fatwa calls all Muslims to seek him out and kill him wherever they find him) it’s still a reality check.
Again, fatwas are not part of the legal system. Instead, they are issued by Muslim clerics. Anyone who acts under a fatwa cannot be legally charged with wrongdoing. That means any Muslim could still attack and kill Ahmed, and the killing could be justified by the fatwa.
“The accusers’ determination to seek Ahmed’s downfall is still intact. They’re not giving up simply because they couldn’t achieve their desired goals through the court system,” Allen says.
Furthermore, the accusers have 40 days to make an appeal. But, more than likely they will not pursue an appeal since recent reforms in Pakistan now consider false charges of blasphemy a severe crime. The punishment for false charges includes fines and imprisonment.
Next Steps and Prayers
What’s next? Ahmed is continuing ministry, just as he did before and during this legal trial. But, Ahmed’s wife, Amir, is still fighting an eye infection. And because of the emotional trauma, Allen says her body’s immune system has not been able to fight it off. So please, pray for her healing.
Keep praying for Pakistani lawmakers to press forward and continue reforming Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
Pray for the perseverance of Pakistani Christians because, although Ahmed is seeing some relief from the persecution he’s faced, others are still deep in the trenches. In fact, one Pakistani FMI pastor was recently attacked while preaching—pray for this man’s healing.
Ask God to heal Ahmed and his family emotionally. They’ve dealt with severe trauma over these past six months. Pray that God would continue lifting them up and giving them strength for each day. Pray for God to continue providing for Ahmed’s legal and medical expenses.
Through its Project Advocacy fund, FMI is hoping to raise $10,000 on Ahmed’s behalf to help him pay off these fees. Will you help?