Pakistan: Muslim refuses to pay repair bill, has Christian repairman jailed for blasphemy

The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are the cause of innumerable human rights abuses. But no one is concerned about it. After all, it isn’t as if something serious such as “Islamophobia” were being committed.

“Christian Father of 2-Year-Old in Pakistan Jailed on Flimsy Blasphemy Charge, Brother Says,” Morning Star News, June 18, 2017:

LAHORE, Pakistan (Morning Star News) – Amid a government campaign in Pakistan against “blasphemous” content online, a Christian was arrested on Friday (June 16) when a Muslim accused him of blasphemy after a dispute over a repair bill, sources said….

The charge against the 23-year-old father filed in Lahore last week was not a cyber case but was rooted in the same vindictive instinct that critics say the online crack-down threatens to unleash. A Muslim, Mohammad Irfan, on Thursday (June 15) refused to pay Ishfaq Masih for a repaired bicycle tire in the Green Town area of Lahore, Masih’s brother Mahmood Masih said.

Irfan told Ishfaq Masih that it was not right to demand money from a “Mirasi,” or genealogist and traditional singer, and an argument followed, Masih’s brother said.

“During the argument, Irfan said that he obeys only one master, Prophet Muhammad, to which Ishfaq said that he was a Christian and his faith ends at Christ,” Mahmood Masih said. “Upon hearing this, Irfan raised a clamor that Ishfaq had blasphemed against Muhammad. Soon a mob gathered at the spot, and someone called the police, who took Ishfaq into custody.”

Riaz Anjum, Masih’s attorney, said that Mohammad Ishfaq, the landlord of the building housing Ishfaq Masih’s repair shop, had filed a First Information Report (No. 797/17) under Section 295-C of the blasphemy law. Mohammad Ishfaq claimed that he and Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Naveed, Nadeem Gujjar and Mohammad Tahir had heard Ishfaq Masih say derogatory words against the Muslim prophet, Anjum told Morning Star News.

The attorney said the claim itself was contrary to facts because none of the men mentioned in the FIR except Mohammad Irfan were present at the scene when the alleged blasphemy took place.

“Irfan had gathered the other men, including the complainant Mohammad Ishfaq, and they then concocted the allegation against Ishfaq Masih and got him arrested,” Anjum said.

He said he was hopeful that his client would be released on bail because there was no mention of what exactly he had said, and no substantive reason was stated for his alleged outburst.

“The FIR is quite weak, as it does not contain any specific blasphemous words that my client may have allegedly said,” Anjum said. “It also shows that the police did not even bother to investigate the charge before registering a case against the poor man. This is the routine practice of the police in blasphemy cases, and it’s a shame that nothing is being done to stop it.”…


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