Pervaiz Masih, 40, a Christian and resident of Kasur district, was arrested on 2nd September after being accused by his Muslim contractor of committing blasphemy — a charge he denies.
Masih is a name used in Pakistan to identify a man as a Christian.
His brother-in-law, Shamoon Masih, said that Pervaiz Masih was being punished for demanding his wage.
“Pervaiz and one fellow Muslim had a brawl with their Muslim contractor on the issue of payment of delivery of four trolleys of sand,” Shamoon told ucanews.com. “The contractor did not make the agreed payment, resulting in heated arguments between two sides.”
“Pervaiz is a poor man who has four children and wife with a minor disability. They are all terrified over what has happened.”
Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a human rights activist and lawyer, said that police lodged a case of blasphemy against Pervaiz under Section 295-C of the criminal code, which prohibits making derogatory comments that insult the prophet. The maximum penalty for being convicted of the charge is a death sentence.
Joseph Francis, national director for a charity that helps persecuted Christians in Pakistan, said the development is reverberating through Pervaiz’s community.
“We have received reports that some Christian families have already fled the village over fears of any potential mob violence, but a heavy contingent of police has been deployed to protect the minority members,” Francis said.
The case is another example of the power of the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Critics have repeatedly said that the laws are misused to settle scores and personal vendettas. Minority Christians have often become the target of accusations of blasphemy.
- Pray for Pervaiz Masih and his family, and for other Christians in his community. Pray for protection for them, for peace in their hearts and on the streets of his village.
- Pray that justice will be seen to be done for Pervaiz, and for a speedy release for him without conviction.
- Pray for Pakistan’s government to bring in measures to protect Christians in their country from false accusations of blasphemy.
- Pray for Pakistan, for growth of the Church and the spread of the Gospel, even in growing opposition and persecution.
Psalm 37 vs 28: “For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his faithful ones.”
Source: http://www.ucanews.com, http://www.persecution.org