The case of Sajjad Masih Gill provides yet another example of how the persecution of Christians in Pakistan is frequently justified by that nation’s draconian blasphemy laws, which are all too often manipulated and misused in order to victimize Christians and other religious minorities, and leave them with no recourse. Christians in Pakistan are targeted with accusations that are often just a cover for attempts to settle personal grudges, appropriate their property, or achieve some other end. In this case, the accused was already sentenced to life imprisonment, but this was considered too lenient.

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, calls upon the international human rights community to bring pressure upon the government of Pakistan to repeal these unjust laws, and allow the Christians of the nation to practice their faith in peace and live in peace.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Pakistani Christian serving life for blasphemy gets death sentence,” by Kamran Chaudhry, UCA News, March 12, 2021:

A Pakistani court has given the death sentence to a Christian previously jailed for life after being convicted of sending text messages defaming Prophet Muhammad.

Lahore High Court on March 10 sent the appeal of hearing of Sajjad Masih Gill, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to the division bench after admitting the criminal revision.

In July 2013, a trial court sentenced Gill, from Gojra town in Punjab province, to life imprisonment for sending a controversial text message to a Muslim man in December 2011. The verdict included a fine of 314,500 rupees (US$2,000)….

In 2015, his brother and nephew reported being attacked and threatened by unknown persons while returning home after visiting Gill in Central Jail Sahiwal, the largest prison in Asia spanning 283,280 square meters.

In 2016, two lawyers of the Legal Evangelical Association and Development reported similar threats by armed men on the road between Kasur and Lahore. Both had defended Gill and appealed to the Lahore High Court.

The news of Gill’s death sentence was praised by a Muslim lawyer in a Facebook post.

Zeeshan Ahmed Awan, who was among the prosecuting lawyers in court, said the court had accepted the prosecution’s argument that capital punishment was the only possible sentence for blasphemy and that life imprisonment was “repugnant” to the injunctions of Islam….