Vigilante justice in Pakistan costs a Christian couple their lives

By November 7, 2014
(Photo of family member holding one of the surviving children courtesy World Watch Monitor)

Family member holding one of the surviving children.
(Photo courtesy World Watch Monitor)

Pakistan (MNN) — Regional police in Pakistan have arrested at least 44 people in connection with a pair of brutal vigilante killings on Monday. Authorities also beefed up security in Christian neighborhoods in Clarkabad, not far from Lahore, the capital of Punjab in the central region.

Greg Musselman, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says a young Christian couple fell afoul of the infamous blasphemy law. “It’s a draconian law, and it is used against the Christians often.” He goes on to explain, “They [the couple] were completely innocent; it was not a case of blasphemy. It was actually over money. The Islamic clerics got people all excited and worked up, and they attacked this couple.”

26-year-old Shahzad Masih and his five months-pregnant wife, 24-year-old Shama Bibi, were accused of burning the pages of a Qur’an. Before long, the couple was surrounded by a mob that beat them with shovels and tortured the husband before incinerating their bodies in a kiln at the brick factory where they worked.

Pakistan’s constitution guarantees religious freedom, but part of the penal code stipulates that any person who defiles the name of the prophet Muhammad or the Quran may be punished by life in prison or death. In practice, “This law continues to be used to attack the Christians. Often, it’s nothing to do with somebody saying anything against Mohammed or against the Qu’ran.”

(Photo of family members courtesy World Watch Monitor)

(Photo of family members courtesy World Watch Monitor)

Monday’s murders were so brutal, they got global attention. Musselman wants to mobilize that awareness into something more. “The international community has got to put more pressure on the Pakistan government…actually coming out and saying, ‘This is absolutely horrible what’s happened!’ But this goes on and on and on.” Islamic cultural pressure is what protects them, he admits. “We pray that this blasphemy law would be struck down, but boy, that’s going to be a big task.”

Churches in Pakistan are frequently vandalized, and Christians are beaten, raped, abducted, and murdered with impunity. Christians also face discrimination in employment and education, keeping them entrenched in the lower classes, doing menial labor or working off debt.

VOMC notes that the trouble has been intensifying over the last five years. In 2009, more than 100 houses of Christians were looted and set on fire in the city of Gojra. In 2013, thousands of Muslim fundamentalists attacked Joseph Colony, a Christian locality in the heart of Lahore. One of the most infamous cases connected to the blasphemy law is Asia Bibi, who faces the death sentence for her conviction on the charges.

Still, Musselman says, there remains a Church body. “That’s why organizations like Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors and others that are working in the country are committed to giving them the tools that they need so that they can be effective in evangelism.” He urges believers to pray for those who are determined to share the hope of Christ. “We really need to see the Church continue to evangelize and not be intimidated by these kinds of laws, and then also, that they would have incredible wisdom in how they go about spreading the Gospel.”

Please also remember to pray for the rest of the family. World Watch Monitor reports that Masih and his wife are survived by four children: Solomon (8), Zeeshan (5), Sonia (4), and Poonam (18 months).


  • ansar says:

    This was suppose to happen, this should be the punishment for those who burn the words of God or those who try to use bad language against our beloved prophet Muhammad s.a.w. this is the only way to make people understant that if anyone dares to do this *^$!# he or she will be punished badly.

  • Greg Yoder says:

    Ansar, while you have your opinions about this, Jesus was clear. I hope you will listen to his teaching because even Muslims call Jesus Holy — perfect. So, if He says He is the only way to salvation, we need to listen. Also, if Jesus said, “Love one another” and “Love your enemies” — we should listen to that, too. Killing people simply because they don’t believe the same way you do isn’t love. And, it will only cause MORE difficulty for you. The words of Jesus are clear. If you don’t believe me, read them for yourself. There are many places on-line where you can read His words. I challenge you to do this. Here’s a link to one. You can even select that language.

  • Marlene says:

    This young couple and there unborn baby are the winners. Only the Lord Jesus can set you free… satan you’re a loser.. Marlene

  • Tami Carter says:

    God is powerful & loving. May this precious couple be in the arms of our Almighty Savior at this very moment. We will pray daily for their sad, grieving family as they struggle through this very difficult time. May they stay faithful & true to His name & may He give them the most wonderful peace. Dear, dear family of Shazad & Shama, please hold fast to God’s Word, He will be the lifter of your heads, you will not be put to shame, the name of Almighty God & His Awesome Son, Jesus Christ will be your stronghold, do not fear what men can do to your body, for they can do nothing to harm the soul of a child of God. Instead be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit who will give you eternal life at the moment of death on this earth. Our loving Father, His One & only Holy Perfect Son, Jesus Christ, & the power of the Holy Spirit rest & abide upon each of you until we meet in heaven, we hope one day very, very soon!! Amen!! Come Lord Jesus!!

  • drew reed says:

    Precious in His sight is the death of HIS saints. May Gods peace envelope this family especially their son.

  • We are all sinners. I am and you are. The All Mighty have given us the
    choice to do right or not to do right. Once I could not walk but the Almighty made me walk, to share His Wisdom, Now You have that choice to follow or not to follow. Good luck from Brother K, from Hawaii.

  • Lucille Yuen says:

    The Islamic religion is a strange one. A religion whose underpinnings encourages violence against oneself, one’s family and innocents is not one of love or peace. Most religions at least promote peace either within oneself or toward others, acknowledging the cruelty of man toward his own kind and seeking an answer to violence. But the truth is that the religious underpinnings of Nazism was the occult and I believe that Islam is not inspired by God but a sinful man, duped by Satan and that it teaches the basest part of man to hate, kill and destroy. It’s madness, not salvation. Any primitive religion man has developed in any place in the world that has capitalized on killing has been demon inspired and whether it is cannibalism, bombing, abortion, mercy killing, or ” in the name of…whatever” it is not of God.

  • Len MacBeath says:

    A point which emerges distinctly from this brutal assassination of a
    young Christian couple is that the primitive blasphemy Law in Pakistan and some other Muslim countries urgently needs repealing. A mob
    in any part of such countries only needs to hear one word, “blasphemy”,
    and without the slightest move to investigate the charge, instantly
    fans the tiny spark into a massive flame, claiming lives or banishing
    to heartless prisons. In these people like Asia Bibi are left for untold
    years awaiting decisions by one court after another, with a mob of clerics inciting the crowds to threatening the judiciary, who are inevitably
    intimidated by the mob, and without police or other intervention.

  • Nana Jawala says:

    Frankly speaking, the founders of Islam knows very well that they are fake so they copied part of the old testament of the bible then transformed it to suit their evil intentions and called it Quran. Then back it up with lies and false promise to those that are ignorant of the word of God to kill anyone who refuses to believe their lies for a promise of Paradise. This is why they conquer by swords, guns and bombs and not by love.
    They refuse the truth and ready for fight to prevent those ignorant followers from knowing the truth.
    One thing they do not know is that no matter how they try to prevent the light it surely overcomes darkness in Jesus Name.

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