A Christian mechanic who was found guilty of insulting the Prophet Mohammed by claiming that Jesus Christ is the “real prophet” was given the death penalty for blasphemy in Pakistan. The accused Ashfaq Masih, 34, was detained after he had a verbal with a Muslim client at his motorbike repair shop in Lahore in 2017.

The Muslim client had requested a waiver on the grounds that he was a devout follower of a his religion; however, Masih rejected the request, stating that he believed in Jesus Christ and wasn’t concerned with the client’s religious affiliation as a Muslim.

Masih was detained and charged with “disrespecting” the Prophet Muhammad for allegedly saying that Jesus was the “real prophet” for Christians.

Masih, who has a wife and daughter, was sentenced to death by a Lahore court on Monday, five years after his arrest.
Mehmood Masih, his older brother, claimed that following the verdict, their family was brought to tears and that it felt like “the end of the world for them.”

Anyone found guilty of insulting religion or religious figures could get the death penalty under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Even though blasphemy has not yet resulted in a death sentence, the mere accusation can spark rioting.

Masih argued in court that he was innocent of the accusations and that the evidence against him are baseless, false and frivolous. He added that a rival who wanted to ruin his motorcycle repair business filed the accusation against him. I persisted on getting my bill and declared that I only follow Jesus, thus I wasn’t concerned about the man’s religious affiliation.

Due to postponements, Masih has been incarcerated for five years while waiting to be found guilty. While he was incarcerated, his mother passed away in 2019, and he was released on parole to attend her burial.
The judgement was disgusting, according to Nasir Saeed, the head of the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, a nonprofit that assists Pakistani Christians who are being persecuted.

He said: ‘I don’t remember any case where the lower court decided to grant bail or freed anyone accused of the blasphemy law. The judges are aware that such cases are made to punish and settle personal grudges with the opponents, especially against the Christians.

‘Because of pressure from the Islamic groups, lower courts’ judges are always hesitant to free the victims but make popular decisions to save their skin and shift their burden to the high court.’

‘He is innocent and has already spent five years in prison for a crime he never committed.’


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