The number of blasphemy cases involving Christians is on the rise in Pakistan. These laws are well known for being used for settling personal scores, making personal gains or for […]
The number of blasphemy cases involving Christians is on the rise in Pakistan. These laws are well known for being used for settling personal scores, making personal gains or for satisfying grudges one neighbour may have against another.
Last month, Ashfaq Masih, a Christian bicycle mechanic, was sentenced to death for blasphemy during an argument with a customer. The customer had asked Masih to not charge him for a bicycle repair because he was a follower of Sufi and its saints, but the mechanic had “rejected his request, saying he only followed Jesus and wasn’t interested in Irfan’s religious status as a Muslim”. Masih was then arrested and charged with disrespecting the Prophet Muhammad.
The bicycle shop owner denies the charges and believes the case against him is based on a conspiracy between his landlord and another man who owns a bicycle repair shop nearby. Both men had harassed Masih in the past and Masih believes they conspired to implicate him in a blasphemy case.
In another blasphemy case in June, the Lahore High Court upheld the death sentence of two Christian brothers who were found guilty in 2018 of posting blasphemous content on the internet. The brothers have maintained they are innocent, and now say they will take their case to the Supreme Court.
While blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, and many have been convicted under these laws, no-one has ever been executed for it.