A 58-year-old Pakistani Protestant Pastor, Zafar Bhatti has been sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam.
Zafar was handed the sentence by a district court in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Anglican Ink reported that the Pastor who has been in prison since 2012, was accused of sending a blasphemous SMS text messages.
The Pastor who ran a house church before his arrest in 2012, founded the charity organization “Jesus World Mission” to assist the poor. His arrest came after an anonymous person filed a complaint against him.
Though the service provider revealed that the SIM card number used to send text messages was not registered in his name but belonged to a Muslim woman named Ghazala Khan, Zafar who has repeatedly denied the charges against him was sentenced to life imprisonment on May 3, 2017 under Articles 295 (a) and 295 (c) of the Penal Code of Pakistan over the text message which allegedly “dishonoured” the Prophet Muhammad and his mother.
The woman who owns the phone number was tried in April 2013 and granted bail.
Zafar is currently the longest-serving prisoner for blasphemy and the first to receive a death sentence, which was upheld by the court on January 3.