PAKISTAN – Christian bicycle mechanic arrested for “blasphemy” after refusing Muslim “holy man” discount
Ashfaq Masih, a Christian bicycle mechanic from Lahore, has been arrested by police after being accused of “blasphemy”. After Ashfaq had repaired a local Muslim man’s bicycle, the man demanded a discount, claiming that he was a Sadhu – a term for a “holy man”, usually associated with Hinduism. Ashfaq refused and said that he did not follow anyone other than Jesus. A crowd gathered and one of them accused Ashfaq of “blasphemy” and called police, who arrested Ashfaq and officially registered a case against him on 15 June.
In May, a Christian from Rawalpindi was sentenced to life imprisonment for “blasphemy”, despite lawyers stating that there was “no concrete evidence” against him. This latest arrest appears to be another case of Pakistan’s infamous “blasphemy” laws being used to settle personal grudges against the vulnerable Christian minority.