A young Christian man in Pakistan was fined and sentenced to death by a court on June 30th for allegedly committing blasphemy. This decision came after the Pakistani government agreed last month to try blasphemy suspects under the country’s anti-terrorism laws and existing anti-blasphemy laws.
A court in #Pakistan has awarded the death sentence and imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on a Christian youth for allegedly sharing blasphemous material on a messaging app. A complaint was filed against him four years ago. https://t.co/g9IEEduDzO
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) June 3, 2023
The defendant was identified as 19-year-old Nauman Masih, a resident of Islami Colony Bahawalpur, which is located 400 kilometers away from Lahore. Masih was arrested four years ago after a complaint accused him of spreading blasphemous content on a messaging app. He was a minor at the time of his arrest.
The District and Sessions Court of the city of Bahawalpur awarded the death sentence and a fine of 20,000 Pakistani rupees (equivalent to around $72 US dollars) to Masih after the prosecution presented witnesses and evidence against him.
"The prosecutors presented the forensic record of Maih's cell phone, which proved that he shared the blasphemous content through WhatsApp,” a court official said. “Some witnesses were also presented in the court," he added.
Father we ask for a super natural release in Jesus Name send and Angel like you did for Paul and Silas and Peter .....In Jesus Name Amen
— OT BROWN (@OTBROWN73) June 17, 2023
Masih was not the only one sentenced to death this year for committing blasphemy, a serious offense punishable by death in Pakistan. Last March, a Muslim man named Syed Muhammad Zeeshan was also given the death sentence after spreading blasphemous content on a WhatsApp group.
Zeeshan was charged with violating the country’s Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and Anti-Terrorist Act and was also sentenced to 23 years in prison, along with a hefty 1.2 million Pakistani rupee fine (equivalent to about 4,324 US dollars).
Blasphemy is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan, and even unproven allegations can lead to violence and death. While it’s often used to settle personal scores and suppress religious minorities in the Muslim-majority nation, even religious leaders can also be victims of mob lynchings linked to blasphemy.
That is why they are better in happiness index than India
— Mankotia (@MankotiaRaj) March 26, 2023
Last May, a Muslim cleric named Nigar Alam was beaten to death by an angry mob during a political rally organized by the opposition Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for his alleged “blasphemous” remarks.
Pakistan’s blasphemy lynching epidemic became known to the world when an angry mob in Sialkot lynched a 49-year-old Sri Lankan factory manager named Priyantha Kumara in December 2021 for removing a poster allegedly containing religious content inside a factory.