A Christian who had been convicted and imprisoned on blasphemy charges more than a decade ago has been released by a Pakistan court – but it's probably too soon to tell if the country is experiencing a change of heart in similar cases.
At the present time, there are 24 known cases of Christians imprisoned in Pakistan on blasphemy charges – charges that are typically false. But it's one less now because, as William Stark of International Christian Concern tells One News Now, the Lahore High Court has overturned the conviction of one of them.
"His name was Imran Masih, and he's been behind bars for a false blasphemy accusation since July of 2009," Stark shares. "He's been in there for about 11 years, waiting to be released."
The case marks the third blasphemy case in the last couple of months in that country to be overturned involving long-term prison inmates.
"We were chatting with Imran's family and they're just so excited that [he is] finally coming home and is actually going to be with them for the Christmas holiday – so that's something that they're celebrating," the ministry spokesman adds.
While it's not known if this third Christian rescued from death row is the mark of a trend, Stark says it's something to hope and pray for.
"I guess the proof is going to be in the pudding at the end of the day," he concludes. "So, right now it's just a blessing for Imran and his family – and hopefully it's part of a trend that will continue in Pakistan." (More details)