Pakistan: Christian jailed for blasphemy is denied bail
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A 57-year-old Christian man in Pakistan who was imprisoned for blasphemy two years ago has just been denied his latest application for bail pending trial, Asia News reports.
Anwar Masih was arrested in June 2020 for defaming Muhammad following a family dispute, Asia News said. The dispute arose after both Masih’s daughter and his wife, Kousar Masih, converted to Islam. When his wife asked the police to help mediate the tensions, the officers arrested Masih for defaming the prophet Muhammad by mistreating his Islamic family members.
In a statement to Asia News, Anwar’s son Imran said he and his siblings have been pressured to prove the family is not against Islam. His siblings are currently living in hiding following death threats made by Muslims.
The Voice for Justice advocacy group has taken up Masih’s cause together with human rights lawyers who are calling on Pakistan to stop the abuse of blasphemy laws and to release those jailed on fabricated evidence, Asia News said.
“Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws continue to be leveraged to accuse non-Muslims (or minority Muslim sects) of insulting the Prophet Mohammed or the Quran—even a false accusation can lead to mob violence,” Open Doors USA said in a website statement.
With notoriously harsh blasphemy laws, Islamic-majority Pakistan ranks 8th on the US Open Doors World Watch List of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.