A Christian Pakistani couple who were acquitted early this month from death row are now reportedly facing death threats from Muslims.
The Christian Headlines said the couple fear for their lives as Islamic extremists have launched a campaign to have them murdered even they have not yet been released from jail. In addition, the presiding court's lawyer is also afraid for his life after receiving threats from the Islamic extremists who accuse him of "collaborating" with the couple. Saif Ul Malook, the lawyer, told Christian Headlines in an interview regarding the threat.
"The social media are being flooded with hate posts against us and the two judges who ordered the couple's release. The lives of all of us involved in the case are at great peril," Malook disclosed.
"These messages from influential clerics belonging to various religious parties are prompting millions of Pakistani Muslims to kill us so that 'they may go to paradise.' It's incentives like these that prompt poor Muslims to commit murders in cold blood," he added.
As previously reported, Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar were acquitted for the false blasphemy charges that kept them imprisoned for seven years and lined-up for death row. The Lahore High Court acquitted the couple last June 3 after findings showed that they were forced to admit to the charges by the Pakistan police who arrested them in July 2013. Emmanuel was actually tortured infront of his family by the police as a means to arrive at the admission.
Besides him, Malook also revealed even the judges are accused of acting on the pressure of the international community in freeing the couple.
"This is absurd, because even though the appeal was most likely taken up and concluded within three days due to pressure of the EU resolution, the verdict was passed on merit," Malook clarified.
The Christian Headlines explained that the European Union Parliament passed a resolution two months ago on the review of Pakistan's "GSP+ status" with the increase of "blasphemy accusations in the country." The EU resolution was passed on a 662-3 vote that excluded 26 abstainees.
The European Union particularly cited the case of the couple when it appealed for a review on the status. The EU pointed out that, "the evidence on which the couple were convicted can be considered deeply flawed," considering as well that it was "postponed multiple times."
Malook stressed that even though he is a "devout Muslim" his duty to defend Christians come as part of his profession as a lawyer.
"I'm a devout Muslim, and I love the Prophet Muhammad in the same way the other Muslims do. Defending Christians who are accused of blasphemy is my legal, constitutional and Islamic duty," he raised.
"I'm not doing anything un-Islamic. Islam teaches us that if we kill one innocent person, we have killed the whole of humanity, but sadly a large number of my Muslims brothers are bent upon maligning our peaceful and just religion," he said.
Malook also said that the situation could get worse than the October 18 campaign of Islamist zealots for acquitting Aasiya Noreen also known as Asia Bibi, who the justice system convicted for blasphemy. He said the Islamist extremists then "brought the country to a standstill."