By BosNewsLife Asia Service

Pakistan Christians praying amid reports of persecution.
Pakistan Christians praying amid reports of persecution.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– There was concern Monday, April 9, about the situation of a mentally ill Christian in Pakistan after police reportedly charged him with “injuring religious feelings.”


Police in the town of Chichawatni in Pakistan’s Punjab Province made the charges against 25-year-old Babar Masih under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy legislation that could carry the death penalty, Christians familiar with the case said.

Three families related to Masih – the only other Christian families in the area – have fled their homes after a Muslim mob threatened to harm them, Christian news agency Compass Direct News reported. Police in Chichawatni registered the blasphemy case against Masih on Monday, May 2, after arresting him at about 10 p.m. that night, Christians said.

The young man’s own family handed him over to police because a large number of Muslim clerics had gathered outside their house and demanded that he be turned over to them so that they could “do justice” by killing him, relatives said.


His brother, Amjad Masih, told reporters that Babar Masih has suffered a mental illness for the past six or seven years typified by fits of unprovoked rage, abusive language and lack of concern for food and clothing. Masih was charged under Section 298 of Pakistan’s blasphemy statues for “uttering words . . . with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings” and Section 298-A for “use of derogatory remarks . . . in respect of holy personages.”

Attorney Khurram Shehzad Maan of the European Center for Law and Justice’s office in Pakistan said that the complainant clearly states in the First Information Report that Babar Masih was addressing the stars as he allegedly cried out against the prophet and holy personages of Islam, Maan said.

“It means that the police must have come to know since the beginning that Babar was not a sane person, who was addressing stars, and also Babar never meant to injure feelings of any Muslims,” Maan stressed. Police officials were not available for comment.

Pakistan has come under international pressure to overturn blasphemy legislation, which stipulates that defaming the Islamic prophet Muhammad is punishable by death or life imprisonment.


Critics say Muslim radicals have used the law to repeatedly incite violence against minority Christians, other religious minorities and even Muslims.

Several Christians have been imprisoned and threatened with execution, including Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old Christian woman, who was sentenced to death in November for “insulting” the Prophet Muhammad.

Additionally politicians have been killed by Muslim militants for campaigning against the law including Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who was shot and killed in March, and Punjab governor Salman Taseer, was shot dead on January 4, in the capital Islamabad by one of his own bodyguards.


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