An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore has acquitted and ordered the release of 40 Christian men who were falsely accused in cases pertaining to the lynching of two men in Youhanabad.
On 15 March 2015 at least 15 people were killed and more than 70 injured when two suicide bombers attacked churches in Youhanabad, the most populated Christian area of Pakistan. The incident occurred during prayers at two churches. The deadly attacks sparked anger and two men were set ablaze by an angry mob who accused the victims of being terrorists.
In 2016, the ATC had indicted 42 people pertaining to the incident. Two of the accused died in prison, allegedly due to lack of access to medical treatment. However, 40 men were freed by the court and returned their homes on Wednesday 29 January 2020.
A local contact has shared her reflections on the case.
“As we give thanks as Christians in Pakistan, one cannot get away from the brutal realities of what this means. The journey of physical, emotional and spiritual healing ahead of them is a long one. Pray for the right people to be positioned alongside them.
“We also reflect on the lives and deaths of the two brothers that died. If those two men had not died this (the release of the 40 men) would not have happened. Their deaths acted as catalysts and became an advocacy bridge for pushing for action and justice.
“Perhaps they didn’t realize that their suffering was for the freedom of others. Sometimes in our struggles we may not see the fruit. Those men suffered and died and did not see the fruit of their pain. But the other men have benefitted from that. I see the finger prints of Jesus in this. This is why He sets an example of suffering unflinchingly, with endurance, and that is the model we will be called to follow more and more.
“Please pray for these men and their families and churches. May the Lord use us to serve these brothers and sisters through intercession and in other ways as they become clear in the weeks and months ahead.”
STAND WITH THEM
Pakistan ranks no.5 in the WORLD WATCH LIST. Source of persecution: Islamic oppression / Organised corruption and crime
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