A Catholic lawyer in Pakistan revealed that Christians in prison are under severe hardships and are experiencing discrimination.
Moazzam Aslam Bhatti told CAN News that he received offers to go and work in other countries, but he had to stay in Pakistan and do all he can to help Christian prisoners who otherwise received almost no legal aid.
The lawyer revealed that Christians are persecuted throughout the country, and can get harsh sentences for crimes with little evidence. One man was told he would spend the rest of his life in jail because he burned pages from the Quran, a charge that he denies.
Bhatti shared that many are also imprisoned for a long period because they cannot pay the fines that are imposed on them. He explained that the prejudice Christians undergo is severe and they are given hardly any rights. They are also disadvantaged with receiving necessities, such as food, clothes and even important medicine.
When mothers are imprisoned, some children are faced with no choice but to stay in jail with them, the lawyer shared. Christians are also often prevented from practicing their religion, and the majority of Islamic followers in prison look down on them.
Father Iftikhar Moon, who provides pastoral care at the Faisalabad prison, shared that there are at most 100 Christians out of a population of 5,000 at the facility.
Bhatti admitted that there is little he could do with the existing laws to enforce extra protection for Christians. However, he vowed to continue fighting with all the resources available to him.
Bhatti urged government authorities to force some changes and provide equal protection for all citizens, regardless of their religion.