40 Pakistani Christians Freed After 5 Years in Prison on Trial for 2015 Easter Sunday Suicide Bombing

Official court document listing the released Christians.
(Photo courtesy of FMI)

Call it ‘frustrated justice,’ if you like. The events surrounding a 2015 Easter Sunday suicide bombing in Pakistan have resolved. Here’s the spoiler alert headline: Court releases 40 Pakistani Christians after almost five years in prison on terror charges.

FMI’s Executive International Director Bruce Allen says their partners in Pakistan followed the case for five years. On March 25, 2015, two suicide bombers connected to the Taliban focused their attention on two churches in Youhanabad – a majority-Christian area in Lahore. Protests followed the event, and in those protests, two Muslim men died.

No integrity of justice in Pakistan

Here’s where the case took an unexpected turn, says Allen. “Instead of going after the perpetrators of the suicide attacks and people who were involved in the bombing of these churches, the police instead went after the Christians.”  Realizing that they had no physical security and that the state was not going to protect them, Christians took to the streets and rioted.

As a result, authorities arrested 42 Christians. “There was a trial,” Allen notes, but says “it was such a kangaroo court. A judge would be replaced with another judge midstream.” The whole judicial process was a farce, he says. “Pakistani society did not want to deal with the fact that Muslims were bombing Christians. ‘Let’s turn this story instead into Christians killing two Muslims.’”

Meanwhile, as the process dragged on, two of Christians died in custody. Finally, on January 29, 2020, the Anti-Terrorism Court came to a decision. “The courts have said, ‘This is enough. We have no evidence to hold these people any longer. We need to let them go free.’” As much as the Christian community celebrated the acquittal, Allen says, “Some political parties were threatening action in the streets [or] other riots if news of the release broke out.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, 

CALL TO ACTION

  • Praise God for His intervention in this case.
  • Pray for the Church to multiply in the power of the Spirit as persecution intensifies.
  • Pray for the strongholds of Islamist extremism and terrorism to be demolished and rendered powerless.