LAHORE, Pakistan — A Pakistani bicycle repair shop owner who is a Christian has been sentenced to death on a false charge of blasphemy brought by an unsatisfied customer, a landlord and a rival shop owner.
The court in Lahore, Pakistan, delivered the sentence July 4 against Ashfaq Masih, who was arrested and imprisoned five years ago, a family member told Morning Star News. Masih was charged under Section 295-C concerning blaspheming Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Capital punishment is mandatory for a Section 295-C conviction.
Masih’s family plans to appeal the decision.
The case started in 2017, when customer Muhammad Irfan asked Masih not to charge him for bicycle repairs because of Irfan’s devotion to Islam. Masih replied that he only followed Jesus.
Subsequently, Irfan filed a police complaint against Masih, joined by Muhammad Ashfaq (Masih’s landlord) and Muhammad Naveed (another bike repair shop owner).
Christians and minorities in Pakistan face a trend of false blasphemy accusations, Morning Star News reported.
Pakistan is No. 8 on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.