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May 1, 2012

PAKISTAN: YOUSAF ACQUITTED

Screen shot 2012-05-01 at 2.44.18 PMDildar Yousaf, the Pakistani Christian arrested and charged with blasphemy for saving his 8-year-old nephew from Muslim attackers, was acquitted March 26 after prosecutors failed to produce any evidence against him.

“I was produced in court three times during the case proceedings, but not one accuser ever turned up at the hearings,” Yousaf told Compass Direct News. “You cannot imagine my joy when the prison officials told me that I had been acquitted by the court.”

In February, Dildar’s father told VOM workers that Dildar’s accusers had conceded in a community meeting that they were wrong and were ready to withdraw their charges. His father said he felt like God was sitting in the meeting with him.

Yousaf said there were times in prison when Muslim prisoners or jail officials directed unwarranted anger at him, but he said someone always defended him and saved him from being assaulted. He had faith that Jesus would free him from prison and from the false charge.

“I prayed a lot — this was the only other thing I did in prison besides having food and sleeping,” he said. “I kept on telling God that I had complete faith in him and would wait for the day when he would set me free.”

Yousaf’s nephew, Ehtasham, was fetching ice on June 10, 2011, when Muslim boys from a nearby madrassa, or religious school, beat him for refusing to convert to Islam. Seeing the attack from a distance, Yousaf rushed to his nephew’s defense. Thinking everything was over, he then went to work.

The village prayer leader claimed to have heard Yousaf “abusing Islamic holy words” while standing near the entrance of his mosque. He called on all Muslims to come out for the defense of Islam. A Muslim mob of about 55 surrounded Yousaf’s house and demanded that “the blasphemer” be handed over. A short time later, police registered a blasphemy case against Yousaf.

After being released, Yousaf returned home to his wife and two young children. He then relocated his family. Yousaf told Compass Direct that the circumstances helped him see the hand of the Almighty at work and drew him much closer to God.

Sources: VOM Contacts, Compass Direct News