Asif Pervaiz

Name: Asif Pervaiz

Country/Area of Origin: Lahore, Pakistan

Background: Pervaiz is a Christian man who, at the time of his arrest, had recently quit his job at a garment factory named Shami Textile, located in Lahore’s Youhanabad neighborhood.

Reason for Arrest:

In early October 2013, Asif Pervaiz’s former work supervisor, Muhammad Saeed Khokher, accused Pervaiz of sending him blasphemous text messages. Lahore authorities immediately arrested Pervaiz and charged him under Pakistani Penal Code Section 295-A for allegedly “intending to outrage religious feelings”, Penal Code Section 295-B for allegedly “desecrating the Qur’an”, and Section 295-C for “insulting the Prophet Muhammad”.

Throughout his detention, Pervaiz has asserted his innocence; he claims that the accuser, Khokher, had repeatedly tried to convince Pervaiz to convert to Islam, causing him to reject such attempts and eventually quit his job at the factory. Pervaiz believes that Khokher fabricated the allegations in an attempt to exact revenge on him. Furthermore, Pervaiz had reported losing his cellphone’s SIM card prior to the accusation, but he failed to request the telephone company to deactivate it; he and his family believe Khokher acquired the SIM card in order to craft the text messages in question. Khokher’s defense attorney, Ghulam Mustafa Chaudrey, has claimed that his client had never made any attempts at converting Pervaiz to Islam.

Latest Updates:

  • On 8 September 2020, a Pakistani court convicted Pervaiz of blasphemy and sentenced him to death by hanging, to be preceded by a three-year term of imprisonment for “phone misuse”. The sentence was accompanied by a 50,000 Pakistani rupee fine. Pervaiz’s lawyer, Saif-ul Malook, has assured that he will be appealing the verdict.
    • “The evidence on record was clearly not enough to sentence Asif Pervaiz to death. As usual, trial judges have so far never acquitted anyone accused of blasphemy. I hope he will be freed by the High Court where we have filed an appeal. Sadly, Asif will continue to be incarcerated until his appeal is heard. From my experience in the Asia Bibi case, judges in appeal courts hesitate to hear and decide blasphemy cases. Cases involving murder are usually decided within three years, but blasphemy charges can take up to over seven years, just like the couple, Shagufta and Shafqat, who have been charged with blasphemy and whose case file has been roaming from one bench to another for hearing.” Saif-ul Malook
    • “We here at International Christian Concern are saddened by the court’s decision to sentence Asif Pervaiz to death under the blasphemy laws. We are especially concerned that the death sentence was made with reportedly no evidence being presented to support the blasphemy allegation against Asif. The abuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws must be curbed and false allegations must be rooted out and punished. Too often these laws have been a tool in the hands of extremists seeking to stir up religiously motivated violence against minority communities. Without real reform, religious minorities, including Christians, wil face more false blasphemy accusations and the extreme violence that often accompanies these accusations.” International Christian Concern, Regional Manager, William Stark