Shagufta Kiran

Name: Shagufta Kiran

Country/Area of Origin: Pakistan

Background: Shagufta Kiran is a Pakistani Christian woman and preacher from Islamabad.

Reason for Arrest:

On 29 July 2021, authorities of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Shagufta inside her home. Without a search warrant, police constables entered Shagufta’s home with loaded guns; as Shagufta tried to stop them from entering, the police pushed her, slapped her daughter, and threatened to shoot them. Authorities confiscated the family’s phones, computers, and valuable items before arresting Shagufta alongside her daughter and two of her sons.

Shagufta’s husband, Rafique Masih, stated the following regarding his wife’s arrest and the authorities’ encroachment upon their home:

“They harassed my family and took possession of our telephones, computer and other valuable items. The police were armed with firearms [and] instructed us not to move and to keep our hands up. They arrested Shagufta and my two sons without prior information or an arrest warrant. They took my wife and sons to the police station, charged Shagufta under 295-A and 2950B of Pakistan’s blasphemy [laws] but later freed my sons.”

Rafique explains that Shagufta was arrested for blasphemy because she was a member of a WhatsApp group in which someone recently allegedly shared a blasphemous message, which Shagufta forwarded. Rafique attests to Shagufta’s innocence in that she had not read the message before passing it on: “Shagufta knew nothing about the post, she was not even the author of the post in question but was accused of passing it on.”

Shagufta’s daughter and sons were released from questioning not long after their original detention; meanwhile, Shagufta endured four days of interrogation until she was eventually transferred to Adyala Jail in Rawalpindi where she will serve life imprisonment for allegedly committing blasphemy. Shagufta’s husband Mr. Rafique also explained that Shagufta is rarely on social media and that it is more than likely she accidentally forwarded the message; he also questioned why Shagufta was targeted for forwarding a message which had already been forwarded possibly hundreds of times. It is possible Shagufta was targeted for her Christian faith.

Latest Updates:

  • 1 November 2021: Jubilee Campaign received information from Voice for Justice that they were able to arrange a brief 45-minute visit between Kiran and her family at Adyala Jail Rawalpindi. Husband Rafiq reported that Kiran is very emotionally distressed and misses her children dearly, but that she was very happy to visit with them and receive clean clothes and other necessary items. Kiran’s court hearing was to be held on 28 October; however, it was adjourned and to be held at an undetermined later date.
  • 21 September 2021: Morning Star News reported that a radical Islamist group, Tehreek Tahaffuz-i-Namoos-Risalat (translation: Movement for Protection of Finality of Prophethood) confirmed that group member Shiraz Farooqi was the individual who raised the complaints against Kiran. The Islamist group also claimed that the admins of the WhatsApp group had let Tehreek Tahaffuz-i-Namoos-Risalat join the chat to ‘monitor the conversations’, and that they filed a case against Kiran after receiving screenshots which allegedly depicted Kiran forwarding a blasphemous message. Kiran is currently detained in Central Jail Adiala in Rawalpindi, and her husband and sons have since gone into hiding.