12 July 2022 :
A court in Lahore on 4 July 2022 sentenced Ashfaq Masih to death by hanging.
The Christian man was convicted of an act of blasphemy allegedly committed five years ago when, according to the prosecution, he defamed the prophet Muhammad by stating that Jesus Christ is the one and only prophet.
On 15 June 2017, police opened a file against Ashfaq Masih after he was arrested following a row with a Muslim man who had come to his bicycle and repair shop.
For the Christian man's family, the blasphemy charge was just a pretext by the client, Muhammad Irfan, not to pay for the work done.
Before the court, Masih declared his innocence, accusing the plaintiff of trying to “destroy his shop”.
In spite of his proclamations of innocence, Additional Session Judge Khalid Wazir issued a death penalty sentence.
After waiting for five years to see what the court would decide, Masih’s wife and eight-year-old daughter were plunged them into pain and despair after the sentence was read.
Now Ashfaq Masih could be either executed by the state, or, like in other cases, become the victim of extrajudicial murder, even in prison, in the name of the blasphemy law.
Masih's death sentence is a source of fear for all Pakistani Christians, especially the “victims of other cases of blasphemy and their families,” this according to Voice for Justice president Joseph Jansen speaking to AsiaNews.