Persecution of Christians in Pakistan: “To date, no information regarding Masih’s connection with the desecrated Quran has been shared by police.” This case is likely yet another use of Pakistan’s blasphemy law to settle personal scores.

This is all too common in Pakistan. That nation’s draconian blasphemy laws are frequently manipulated and misused in order to victimize Christians and other religious minorities, and leave them with no recourse. Christians in Pakistan are targeted with accusations of blasphemy that are often just a cover for attempts to settle personal grudges, appropriate their property, or achieve some other end. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have been used to victimize innumerable innocent people, both Christian and non-Christian. Often this happens with the approval of the relevant authorities.

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, calls upon the international human rights community to bring pressure upon the government of Pakistan to repeal these unjust laws, and allow the Christians of the nation to practice their faith in peace and live in peace.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Pakistani Christian Arrested for Blasphemy After Pages of Quran Discovered in Drain,” International Christian Concern, September 1, 2020:

09/01/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Christian man in Pakistan’s Khybar Pakhtunkhwa province has been arrested and charged under the country’s blasphemy laws. The arrest reportedly took place on August 30, 2020, in the Risalpure neighborhood of Nowshera.

A First Information Report (FIR) regarding the incident (FIR #460/2020) claims that residents of Risalpure discovered pages of the Quran in a drain. A video of the discovery was posted to social media on August 27 and reportedly went viral.

Days later, on August 30, police arrested David Masih, a Christian from the Kachi Line area of Risalpure. Masih was charged with committing blasphemy under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s Penal Code. With Masih in custody, police say they have started their investigation into the case. To date, no information regarding Masih’s connection with the desecrated Quran has been shared by police.

If found guilty, Masih could face life in prison.

In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are widespread and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests.

Since Pakistan added Section 295-B and 295-C to the country’s blasphemy laws in 1987, the number of blasphemy accusations has skyrocketed. Between 1987 and 2017, 1,534 individuals in Pakistan have been accused of blasphemy. Of those 1,534, 829 accusations (54%), were made against religious minorities. With Christians only making up 1.6% of Pakistan’s total population, the 238 accusations (15.5%) made against Christians are highly disproportionate.

Currently, 25 Christian are imprisoned on blasphemy charges in Pakistan, including David Masih. These 25 Christians are defendants in 22 blasphemy cases represented at various levels of the judicial process in Pakistan….