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Christian Couple Gets Acquittal In Blasphemy Case From Lahore High Court

Lahore High Court (LHC) has on Wednesday acquitted Christian couple Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Masih in a blasphemy case seven years after they were convicted by a lower court.

Shafqat was a watchman at a local school in Gojra district of Toba Tek Singh. He was arrested along with his wife in 2013 over blasphemy charges and booked under Section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code.

The couple was charged with sending blasphemous text messages to two complainants, Malik Mohammad Hussain (a shopkeeper) and Anwar Mansoor Goraya (a lawyer and former president of the Gojra Tehsil Bar).

The couple was sentenced to death and fined Rs 100,000 by a district and sessions judge in Toba Tek Singh. Shafqat and Shagufta were however adamant that they were being framed over a baseless allegation and filed an appeal with Lahore’s High Court. Advocate Saiful Malook, who also successfully defended Asiya Bibi, another Christian lady accused of blasphemy, represented the couple in the high court.

A two-member bench of LHC overturned the earlier decision, finding the couple innocent of the charges. It is important to note that in April this year a European Parliament resolution had called for a review of GSP+ status for Pakistan citing rise in number of blasphemy cases in the country and had made special mention of this case in the resolution.

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Naya Daur