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.