Pakistan (MNN) – New developments have occurred in Ahmed’s blasphemy case, a strategically placed co-laborer for the Gospel in Pakistan. Now that his case is being heard by a new judge with a bad reputation, there are concerns regarding his next trial.
New Judge, New Court
“Friday is the first day of the new trial under this second judge. The defense attorney is very cautious. He’s been watching [the] body language of the accusers, of the prosecution,” FMI’s Bruce Allen shares. “And, one of the things that have disturbed him in the reports that I just received was that there’s been a marked contrast in the body language, in the speech of the prosecution.”
The change in judge came after weeks of protests in Pakistan where demonstrators accused government officials of blasphemy for making a slight word change to the oath every official takes when entering an office. Between Pakistan’s society being on a knife’s edge right now and the death threats the previous judge had received from the accusers, he decided to hand the case over to a new judge.
However, during the first trial under the previous judge, the prosecution was what Allen describes as belligerent, riotous, and wanted to ambush and physically harm Ahmed at the trial. Now under this new judge, Allen reports these same men are smug, confident, and very self-assured.
Changes in Blasphemy Trial
Ahmed’s lawyer is concerned the prosecution and judge may have already reached a guilty verdict under the table despite the fact there is no evidence against Ahmed.
“In the first trial, the evidence was thrown out as baseless. It really was false evidence,” Allen explains. “So now the defense attorney is just really wondering, ‘why are they so self-assured’ and ‘is it because there have been some secret dealings?’”
The current judge is also demanding** Ahmed to show up in person at the court hearing on Friday, which raises further concern for safety. Regardless, Ahmed isn’t letting this discourage him or his ministry.
“Even up until New Year’s Day, I know he was doing scripture distribution and evangelism in the country,” Allen shares. “He’s being very careful about how he does that, but he said, ‘Ministry still goes on. I’m still going to share my faith and the Pakistani constitution allows me to do that.’”
Still, Christians aren’t the only ones recognizing Pakistan’s violations to religious freedom. International pressures are beginning to press down on the country after the U.S. State Department recently placed Pakistan on a special watch list specifically for religious freedom violations. And on Open Doors’ USA’s 2018 World Watch List, which came out Jan. 10, Pakistan is ranked as the 5th country where Christians persecution is most severe.
How to Help
So please, pray for Ahmed’s trial and for change to the blasphemy law and Pakistan’s legal system. Pray that whatever the enemy intends for evil against Ahmed, that God would use for his good.
Ask God to continue to encourage Ahmed, for him to have wisdom in his actions, and for the judge to reverse his decision for Ahmed to appear in person at court.
Want to help Ahmed with legal fees? Then donate to FMI’s “Advocacy Project” and the funds will be transferred to Ahmed.
To donate, click here!
**Just after the publication of this article, MNN received word that Ahmed’s judge had indeed reversed his demand to have Ahmed appear in court. Ahmed’s lawyer will be able to continue to represent Ahmed in the courtroom, which is an answered prayer.