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Saturday 29 December 2012

Rimsha's Christian bodyguard gets death threats

Basharat Khokher (in white in photos on right) helping Rimsha
Christian police constable Basharat Khokher, himself falsely accused in a very murky blasphemy case in 2009, is facing more persecution because of Pakistan's iniquitous blasphemy law.

As a Christian, he has quite often been involved in bodyguard duties for Christian leaders and other Christians in the public eye who's lives are under threat.

He was one of Shahbaz Bhatti's bodyguards, and after Bhatti's assassination (at a moment when he had dismissed his security detail) Khokher went into hiding himself.  However, he later returned to his work, this time for Bhatti's brother, Dr Paul Bhatti, Minister in Charge for National Harmony.  He was the police officer who rescued Rimsha's family and took them to safety and guarded them, and he is also the one who took Rimsha Masih, the young illiterate teenager falsely accused of blasphemy, from the courts after her release on bail to a safe location.

However, because of this, Muslim extremists who want to kill Rimsha have started to threaten him, in part because they believe he knows where she and her family now are, and in part because he did his job protecting her.  According to Shamim Masih, he is getting threatening messages saying 'whoever utters a word of disrespect towards the glory of our dear Prophet or disgrace the holy quran, his only punishment is death. Beware; because no one can tolerate a blasphemer… and you are protecting them, will not live with safety in this country'

As you can imagine, this alone is having a traumatic effect on him, but he also has to look after his children as his wife has been in hospital for several months.  His superiors have moved him for his safety to another police station, but the family are too afraid to go to school or do their shopping, and remain inside their house

Please pray for Basharat Khokher and his family - for protection, courage and wisdom.

Sources  1  2  and 3

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