Shaukat and his wife work hard to provide for their family, having three young children ages 7, 9 and 13—two of which have special needs. Shaukat works in sanitation and Kiran works as a domestic helper in other’s homes. They also manage a property as caretakers and reside in a room on the building’s top floor.
Early last month, as he walked by the Masih’s building, a local Muslim witnessed pages being thrown from the roof. He knelt and picked up the pages and discovered they were from the Quran. Quickly, a small crowd gathered.
Shaukat was away at work at the time and Kiran was working at a neighbor’s house. When she heard the commotion in the street, Kiran walked outside and noticed six men gathered near her home. She asked what was happening and was presented with the torn Quran pages.
She explained to the men that her children might have inadvertently found a bag containing wastepaper. The men then shoved Kiran aside and forcibly entered the building. Once on the roof, they discovered the children playing with a bag of Quran pages.
Despite Kiran’s pleas of innocence and request for forgiveness on behalf of her young children, the accuser contacted the police, leading to the Masih family being taken into jail. A friend and local activist took custody of the three children on a temporary basis, but the children have been deeply distressed at their parent’s absence.
The friend later brought the children to visit their parents behind bars. In describing the meeting, he says, “As she [Kiran] saw her children walking towards her in jail, she started crying. In a vulnerable and helpless situation, she showed her concern about the safety of her children. She felt relived after I ensured her their safety.”
A local police officer explained that the couple was arrested as a preventive measure to avoid potential violent protests by religious activists, not wanting a repeat of the Jaranwala unrest. However, if convicted of blasphemy, the couple could face life in prison.
Shaukat and Kiran are in need of our prayers: They are in need of their bail to be paid for, for lawyers to come forth and vigorously defend them and for their children to be provided for during this unsettling time. Let’s pray.
Father God, You see the pain of our family in Lahore. You see their needs. We ask You provide bail for them, so they can be released and be reunited with their children. We ask You protect Shaukat and Kiran with a strong legal team to face whatever charges are drawn against them. We pray for the children, that they will find peace during this time of turmoil—a perfect peace only granted by You. And we pray boldly, Lord, that these charges be immediately dropped, and that the parents can return home—today. In Your name we pray. Amen.
*Representative photo of a persecuted Pakistani Christian
About the author
Tim Dustin is a staff editor for Global Christian Relief. Each day, he works to share the stories of the persecuted with the global Church. He invites you to learn more about Christian persecution on our website and read the latest stories of persecution at GlobalChristianRelief.org.