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Bishop Samson Shukardin (Aid to the Church in Need)

The chair of the Catholic Church’s National Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakistan has lambasted a court for passing the death sentence on a Christian man found guilty of blasphemy in connection with one of the worst atrocities against minorities in the country’s history. Source: Aid to the Church in Need.

Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, described as “very, very painful” the judgment handed down in the case of Ehsan Shan.

The Sahiwal Anti-Terrorism Court found Mr Ehsan guilty of blasphemy by allegedly sharing content deemed insulting to Islam and its prophet on social media.

Mr Shan, a man from Sahiwal in his early 20s, was not accused of desecrating the Koran but of reposting an image of the damaged sacred text.

Reports of the defiled script triggered a day of violence last August against Christians in Jaranwala, Punjab province, where more than 25 churches were torched and more than 80 Christian homes ransacked. Sentenced under numerous articles of the Pakistan Penal Code, Mr Shan was also sentenced to 22 years’ “rigorous imprisonment” and fined 1 million Pakistan Rupees ($5300).

In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic charity that supports persecuted Christians in need, Bishop Shukardin, chair of the Catholic Church’s National (Catholic) Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), said: “This decision is very, very painful for us. Many people are disappointed.”

He called on the international community to appeal for justice: “The big international NGOs and human rights organisations should come out and say something opposing this decision. This will make a big impact on the government.”


Pakistan: Desperate plea for Christian man put on death row (By John Pontifex, Aid to the Church in Need)