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The emergency program will provide food parcels to more than 5000 of the poorest families, families that were already living below the poverty threshold before the pandemic.
Christian girl, 14, abducted during virus lockdown in Pakistan, forced to wed kidnapper and renounce her faith
Mr. Sandhu said he would appeal the decision, taking the case to Lahore High Court and if necessary Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which in October 2018 sensationally overturned the case of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman on death row for blasphemy.
He called on the Pakistan government to provide masks, gloves and other COVID-19 protective equipment for sanitary workers and domestic workers—many of whom are Christians.
Pakistan: Parents of kidnapped, forcibly converted Catholic teenager look to highest court for relief
“We are not giving up, and, together with her lawyer Yousaf, we are going to take the case to the country’s Supreme Court. This was the court which finally set Asia Bibi free.”
There was widespread criticism of police behavior leading up to the men’s arrests. Church leaders claimed police had gone “house to house aiming to arrest as many Christians as possible,” while investigating the lynching of the two Muslim men.
She becomes more animated, and her previously quiet voice becomes more confident and assured: “Throughout my imprisonment I held the hand of Christ. It is thanks to him that I managed to stay strong. So don’t be afraid!”
“Pakistani journalists now readily refer to Asia Bibi when a new case hits the headlines. They have realized the importance of the issue and it is becoming increasingly difficult to sweep blasphemy-related cases under the carpet.”
“Throughout Pakistan, people had been praying, every day praying that the court would rule in their favor. It is a big day for us all. The accused have been through a big, big trauma and now, thank God, they have come out the other side.”
It is the first case of forced conversion to Islam and forced marriage ever to come before a Pakistani High Court; and it is the first time that the Child Marriage Restraint Act has been cited in court.