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‘The lucrative bounty on my head has attracted even good people to try to kill me’

UCA News reported in November 2020 that “posters offering a reward of 10 million rupees (US$62,860) to kill a Pakistani Christian,” Farvaz Pervaiz, “for posting anti-Islam content on social media have appeared in Karachi in southern Pakistan.” Since then, notes Pervaiz, the bounty has grown to $375,000, and has followed him halfway around the world, to Thailand, where he is a hunted man.

According to UCA News, it’s all because he spoke out against jihad activity: “Pervaiz has been receiving threats since speaking out for minority Christians after the 2013 attack on Joseph Colony of Lahore by a mob that looted and destroyed 116 houses and two churches. He led protests demanding action from the police and ran a blog in which he challenged both the politics and theology of Islam, presented his own interpretations of the Quran and criticized the Prophet Muhammad. He fled Pakistan in 2014 after radical Muslims grew enraged by caricatures, statements and videos he and his father, a political leader, posted on various accounts.”

He went to Thailand, but has not found a secure refuge there. Pervaiz told me Sunday: “I am receiving continuous threats by phone. I cannot go out, because Pakistani Muslims in Thailand want to kill me. The lucrative bounty on my head has attracted even good people to try to kill me. Since the threats that were issued against my life throughout 2019 and 2020, including by Taha Cheema and Saira Ishmail, among other fanatics, our lives continue to hang in the balance. We have a very precarious situation, which is impacting my health and also my mother’s health. There remains a lucrative bounty on our heads, in the vicinity of $375,000 USD, which makes it attractive to harm us. I was attacked here by Sunni Muslims, and some Muslim refugee women disclosed my location.”

In seeking aid and refuge, he has encountered only indifference: “It is also worth noting that the Pakistani government issued an arrest warrant for me last year, but the United Nations never helped me. Only some people in the Christian world know about me, and jihadis will celebrate my death.”

Meanwhile, Pervaiz has not been forgotten in Pakistan. He recounted to me: “In this interview on Pakistani national television, the guest on the show, Oriya Maqbool, Jan said that this is the first ever case in the history of Pakistan that dealt with social media blasphemy. In 2017, Justice Shaukat Saddique took the initiative against blasphemous content on social media. Maqbool added that in 1920, a person named Rajpal published a supposedly blasphemous book named Rangeela Rasool, and that this book had been uploaded on social media pages. Maqbool said that the Anti-Terrorist Court of Rawalpindi gave the death sentence to three people who were accused in this case; one other got 10 years in prison and a fine. He further added that Faraz Pervaiz had absconded along with three others accused in this case, and said that if anyone found them, please let us know, so that we may bring them back to the country and punish them according to the law of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

Faraz Pervaiz is a living symbol of the international fear of confronting Islamic jihadists. This timidity only emboldens them and makes them more aggressive. If we had a sane American government, he would already have been offered asylum and a 24-hour guard in the United States. Instead, we have Joe Biden.

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