Pakistan: Christian bicycle mechanic sentenced to death for blasphemy

October 3, 2022 by Tim Dustin in Persecution updates

While Pakistan celebrates 75 years of independence this year, the Christian minority within the country continues to face discrimination, harassment and violence because of their faith. The most recent example: a Christian bicycle mechanic sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Sentenced to death for blasphemy 

The situation escalated during an argument. A Muslim customer, Muhammad Irfan, asked the mechanic, Ashfaq Masih, not to charge him for a repair because he was a follower of Sufi and its saints. Ashfaq  rejected his request, saying “he only followed Jesus and wasn’t interested in Irfan’s religious status as a Muslim,” Ashfaq’s attorney, Riaz Anjum, told Morning Star News.  

It didn’t take long for authorities to get involved, ending in Ashfaq’s arrest and charges of disrespecting the Prophet Muhammad. 

Ashfaq denies the charges and believes the case against him is based on a conspiracy between his landlord and the owner of a nearby bicycle shop. Both men had previously harassed Ashfaq who believes [they] conspired to implicate him in a blasphemy case using Irfan, Anjum said. 

In another blasphemy case, the Lahore High Court upheld the death sentence of two Christian brothers found guilty in 2018 of posting blasphemous content on the internet. Qaiser and Amoon Ayub continue to maintain their innocence. The two brothers have been in prison since 2011 and now say they will take their case to the Supreme Court. 

What’s important to note, while blasphemy is punishable by death in Pakistan, no-one has ever been executed for it. 

Christians continue to be targeted in the fifth most dangerous country for Christians. On August 8, two gunmen on motorcycles opened fire in the town of Mastung in West Pakistan, killing a Catholic man and injuring three teenagers. The man, Wilson Masih, was the brother of Hendry Masih, a Christian member of Pakistan’s Parliament killed by his bodyguard in Quetta in 2014. 

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Let’s remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan; they face violence without justice and laws designed to break their faith. Let’s pray for strength, that they’ll boldly proclaim their faith, no matter the intolerance they face. Pray these blasphemy laws will be redacted without question. And pray God will continue moving in Pakistan and remind His people that He has not forgotten them, and is still on the throne. 

Father God, please hear our prayers for our Pakistani family. 

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