(World Watch Monitor) — In what might be a first-ever, a Pakistani lower court in mid-January acquitted a Christian of blasphemy after a three-year trial for lack of evidence against him. However, before his arrest on the false charge, Pervaiz Masih’s wife was brutally tortured by the police as they sought to find out where he was, as was his brother-in-law. Her back was broken, leaving her unable to leave her bed. He also believes his wife Zareena’s incapacity led to the drowning of his three-and-a-half year old daughter; she was unable to keep watch over the toddler.
The family has been living away from their home since August 2015 (when Masih’s ‘blasphemy’ was alleged to have happened). Since then Masih cannot go back to their village for fear of his life; he’s now deep in debt at a remote brick kiln, and cannot pay for medical treatment for Zareena.
Masih and his family are completely devastated and left in fear, despair and hopelessness – despite the fact that, on 15 January, he was told he could go free, as the Kasur Session Court in the Punjab Province could not find enough evidence that he had insulted the Prophet Mohammad during a dispute with a Muslim businessman.