A Pakistan Protestant Pastor, Zafar Bhatti, 58, has been sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam.
Zafar was sentenced by a district court in Rawalpindi in Pakistan. The pastor is reported to have been in prison since 2012 according to Pakistan Ink. He was accused of sending SMS text messages which were alleged to be blasphemous.
The said pastor was running a house church before he was arrested in 2012. He is also the founder of ‘Jesus World Mission’ a charity organization. The organization was founded with the mission to assist the poor.
He was arrested following a complaint by an anonymous person. The service provider was consulted and revealed that the SIM card which was used to send the messages was not registered under the pastor’s name. Instead, it belonged to a Muslim woman by the name Ghazala Khan.
Zafar has repeated denied the charges levelled against him despite which he was sentenced to life imprisonment on 3 May 2017 under artickes 295 (a) and 295 (c) of the Penal Code of Pakistan. The said text messages are alleged to have dishonoured the Prophet Mohamed and his mother.
The woman who owns the phone number was tried back in April 2013 and was granted bail. Pastor Zafar is the longest-serving prisoner for blasphemy and the first ever to be handed a death sentence.
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