Pak-Christian wife Nawab Bibi (72 yrs) has been living alone since her husband of over 30 years, Zafar Bhatti (57 yrs) was arrested and sent to prison under evidentially false blasphemy charges in 2012.
As a committed and loyal wife, Nawab has been visiting her husband weekly and has been providing home cooked food and companionship, despite her ailing health.
Nawab Bibi prays with and for her husband and believes strongly that he will one day be exonerated like the many Christians before him but fears such a release may be too late for her to see the day come to fruition.
Last month (30th April 2021) Nawab fell down the external stairs of her building just as she was about to travel to buy the food stuffs required to cook for Zafar Bhatti. Fortunately for her as she lay sprawling on the floor in pain screaming her neighbours and landlord came to her rescue and helped her to her flat. At this point Nawab contacted the BACA operations manager who travelled to Rawalpindi with his team the same night.
BACA for the last few years have been supporting Nawab and Zafar by money for her rent and daily living expenses, medical treatment for the two of them and monthly grocery and other gifts for Zafar whilst in prison. Nawab Bibi would have been destitute without this support.
Picture of Nawab Bibi after a later visit.
Nawab Bibi explained, she said:
“I was on my way out of my apartment block to buy vegetables to cook for Zafar but I slipped from the stairs that were soaked by the heavy rainfall at the time.
“As I fell there was immense pain in my back and I screamed hoping someone would hear and come to my rescue.
“Luckily, my neighbours and the landlord rushed out and they helped me get back to my room.
“I am thankful that BACA travelled overnight to take care of me as it was difficult for me to walk or move”
The BACA team took her to Maxhealth hospital in Islamabad where a team of doctors examined her condition. During an X-ray analysis it was discovered that a dislocation of a disc in her spine was causing her mobility pain. The doctors advised physiotherapy as the best course of action and BACA need to raise £300 for treatment and an accompanying local officer.
Nawab Bibi was pleased with the analysis as she had suspected kidney failure as a possible reason for the pain in her back, she said;
“I fear I am going to die without seeing my Zafar set free.
“The authorities are not going to release him quickly and seems to be putting obstacles in the way of justice.
“I believe it is because of strong prejudices against Christians – but this is so dangerous for them as God will judge them for their wrongdoings.
“Even if I do not see Zafar free during this lifetime we will meet again in heaven – our God is a great God.”
Nawab Bibi has been placed on a pain relief medication plan and is and recovering now. However, only days after the accident she was hit with a bombshell after her landlord submitted eviction notice papers to her. The landlord has stated a desire for her to vacate the property based on the need to house a relative and not due to the incident. Our BACA team in Pakistan is seeking the best options for a new home but costs are estimated at £120 per month to cover rent and living costs and a deposit of £240.We are doing our best to ensure a home is found before the end of her tenure. Her new premises will be set on the ground floor to accomodate for her frailty. Nawab shared her pain about the eviction, she said:
“The Landlords have started the eviction process with me and have left me agitated.
“Zafar always organised our homes and other matters and I did not know what I would do.
“I am grateful to BACA who are stepping in to help me.
“However, I am saddened that the home Zafar and I shared with so many of our memories will not be available to him when he is finally released.”
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“I am disturbed that the lack of international noise over the ongoing incarceration of Zafar Bhatti despite his obvious innocence.
“Zafar has now been imprisoned for longer than Asia Bibi, Pakistan’s most famous blasphemy law victim and must be a record for blasphemy incarceration in Pakistan, but he is being ignored.
“Both Zafar and Nawab are in poor health but their love for each other is as strong as ever.
“Failure to reunite this doting couple soon would be a failure by Pakistan’s Judicial system – one that could mean they never get to share their latter years together.”
Nawab Bibi is receiving the best possible care from BACA.
Our Operations Manager, has not been able to meet Zafar Bhatti while he was in prison due to COVID-19 restrictions. Only family social-bubbles can meet with inmates but it is believed that visits from organisations can resume in a further 2 months.
Zafar Bhatti has cataracts developing on his eyes and requires surgical removal. The cost of such a procedure will be in the region of £500 and we can only get a final figure once the operation is complete.
If you are moved by this account of persecution and would like to help with any of the associated support cost for this persecuted Pak-Christian family, then please donate by using one of the options (here)