Please sign and share widely our petition for Zafar Bhatti (here)
Fears that Zafar Bhatti (55 yrs), Pakistan’s longest serving blasphemy convict could be the first ever to be lynched, heightened after a judge increased his sentence from life imprisonment to death on 3rd January 2022 (click here)
Judge Sahibzada Naqeeb Shehzad, of Sessions Court Rawalpindi made this ruling despite clear physical and electronic evidence of the innocence of Zafar Bhatti.
No forensic evidence exists for any blasphemy by Zafar Bhatti, in fact every piece of physical and electronic evidence suggests he is innocent. Zafar Bhatti however was convicted based on an unsubstantiated report declaring his guilt, made by police in the early stages of their investigation. During that investigation Zafar Bhatti states he was coerced into a false investigation under a brutal police interrogation. Read time line (here)
Zafar Bhatti could still be killed any day under the terms of his blasphemy conviction under Section 295C of the Blasphemy law of Pakistan. Read more (here).
In our last article we explained that we were seeking to appoint Saif Ul Malook Pakistan’s most pre-eminent blasphemy law solicitor (click here).
BACA took Nawab Bibi to meet with Zafar Bhatti in Adiala Jail Rawalpindi on 14th July 2022.
Zafar had just undergone surgery on his right foot after a large pus-filled infection had been removed surgically from his foot. The affection arose and grew rapidly due to the numbness in his foot that had been induced by diabetic neuropathy, a condition that meant he did not feel the original infection.
Doctors have said that if if the infection had not been treated when it had Zafar might have lost his foot due to gangrene.
Nawab Bibi wet when she say the treated wound on Zafar’s foot, as concerns about his health grow. Zafar Bhatti, said:
“Doctors have told me that if the wounds had not been operated on they would have had to remove my feet.
“Living in this cell has left me prone to so many illnesses and conditions.”
Poor hygiene in the cell is causing misery for Zafar Bhatti who has developed an itchy rash due to a fungal infection. Prison medical staff have advised him to use Lamisil Cream which needs to be applied on affected area’s of skin for recovery. Zafar has asked for help with the cost of the medication and we have agreed to purchase this for him.
Every month, BACA provides groceries for self-cooking (to thwart attempts to poison Zafar), sanitary products, clothing and we even pay for his regular insulin. Though prison medical staff administer the injections we have been paying for them since Zafar was told he needed the medicine. It seems that Pakistan is failing to meet its commitment to ensure ‘Everyone has the right to good health’ under Un conventions that have bene ratified. Buying clothes, paying for legal advocates and all the above is a long-term commitment made by BACA to support Zafar Bhatti until he is free and safe. If you would like to help us meet our commitment to Zafar and his wife Nawab please donate (here).
BACA’s team along with Nawab Bibi gifted Zafar Bhatti the prescription glasses he needed to help with his failing sight as mentioned in our previous article (here). We also provided him with the gift of new light cotton clothes to help cope with an extremally hot summer. His incarceration in Rawal Pindi Jail is in isolation. The cell he is being kept in is small and dingy and though it has a ceiling fan this is largely ineffectual in soaring temperatures above 40 degrees centigrade.
On 11th August BACA’s team visited Adiala Jail to visit Zafar Bhatti again, taking Nawab Bibi with them. They had good news to share that a new solicitor had been appointed for his case Saif Ul Malook and were pleasantly surprised to learn that Saif Ul Malook had already visited and encouraged him. Mr Malook had a detailed discussion about the Zafar Bhatti’s legal case with him and has stated that he hopes to get him out of jail very soon.
Pakistani courts are currently closed due to Judge holidays but Mr Malook has informed Zafar that the date for a hearing will be fixed soon after courts resume in September.
Zafar seemed much more confident about his release from prison after meeting Mr Malook, he said:
“Mr Saif Ul Malook seems very knowledgeable and professional.
“He has had so much success in helping falsely accused blasphemy convicts gain emancipation from prison, it’s inspiring.
“He seems to understand my case immediately and I believe he truly wants to help.
“I have suffered more than 10 years of isolation in prison which has affected my health and sanity.
“It seems now however, that God is setting things up for me to be free again – praise God!”
On 13th August, BACA operations manager visited Advocate Saif Ul Malookat his office. Mr Malook has clarified that he has studied the case of Zafar Bhatti in some depth. Mr Malook, said:
“We are very optimistic that we will help Zafar Bhatti out of prison in the near future.”