LAHORE: Reportedly, On January 16,2016,Pastor Saeed Abedini,a naturalized American citizen,was released from prison with three other Americans prisoners.Reportedly on January 27,2013,he was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of undermining national security through private religious gatherings in Christian homes in Iran in the early 2000s.
According to media reports Christian evangelist Franklin Graham,a son of Billy Graham,advocated for Abedini’s release and worked with the lawmakers to advocate for Abedini’s release,along with Pittenger’s friend North Carolina Pastor David Chadwick.
According to U.S.News Rep. Robert Pittenger doubts Abedini will ever return to Iran.
“He saw the bigger picture. He was arrested because of his Christian faith. He’s Iranian. He understands the government, he understands what these mullahs do. They’re tyrants and they’re very rigid sectarian Shiite Muslims, and they have no respect or tolerance for other sects, much less Christianity,” Pittenger says.
On the other side,Asia Bibi a Pakistani Christian woman was accused of committing blasphemy by her fellow workers in 2009. In 2010, she was awarded death sentence, however, later appeal was filed against the ruling which was rejected by the Lahore High Court in 2014, and now her appeal case is pending for a hearing before the Supreme Court.
She is one of those faith prisoners who are languishing in Pakistani jails and there is no strong advocacy for their release after the assassination of two high profiles political figures.
The blasphemy laws are not a heartache for accused only, but theirs families also suffer from the agony followed by the ghastly episode of tragedy.
Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender,who heads LEAD a free legal aid and advocacy group working for persecuted and faith prisoners in Pakistan,request evangelist Rev.Franklin Graham for advocacy support for Asia Bibi’s release and other Pakistani faith prisoners.
“I request evangelist Rev.Franklin Graham and other international groups who claim to raise their voice for religious freedom and faith prisoners in Pakistan.I request because they are arrested due to their Christian faith,”said Sardar Mushtaq Gill,Human Rights Defender who is also advocating for persecuted.