Prayers answered as Pakistan court acquits Christian brothers of “blasphemy” over Jaranwala riots

1 March 2024

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Praise God for answered prayers with the acquittal yesterday (29 February) of Christian brothers Umar Saleem (known as Rocky) and Umair Saleem (known as Raja) on charges including “blasphemy” following the anti-Christian riots that ravaged the Christian area of Jaranwala in August 2023.

Defence lawyer Tahir Bashir told the Anti-Terrorism Court in Faisalabad that the men were innocent and there was no evidence against them. Justice Mohammad Hussain gave orders for the acquittal.

Jaranwala Christians made homeless in the riots at prayer

The brothers were charged under all three of Pakistan’s notorious “blasphemy” laws, including Section 295-C of the Penal Code. This section relating to defiling the name of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, carries a mandatory death penalty.

They also were accused under Section 9 of Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act with stirring up sectarian hatred.

Muslim mobs attacked churches and the homes of believers on 16 August following unfounded claims that torn pages of the Quran were found in the area.

Lift up the Saleem brothers and pray for their physical, emotional and spiritual recovery from their arrest and detention ordeal. Ask also for healing for their traumatised families. Pray for protection for the brothers and their lawyers against zealous Muslims who may still try to attack them, despite the court's acquittal verdict.

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