Published on: 27 November 2017
A 70-year old Christian man from Pakistan died suddenly while awaiting to clear his name of blasphemy charges.
On November 20, 2017 Judge Saadat Rasool took his death certificate and closed his pending blasphemy case. His family isn’t happy that the case was closed. They find themselves even more vulnerable to attacks now that his name will never be cleared.
Masih was arrested after being accused of pinning a blasphemous letter on the door of a local mosque in Lambanwali village, Punjab Province. He pleaded innocence and begged that the police examine the writing in the letter. They refused to listen.
On January 28, 2017, local police bashed through Masih’s home while his family was sleeping. They grabbed him and started hitting him. To pressure Masih to admit to the blasphemy charges they grabbed his oldest son, Anjum, and tortured him in front of his father. Both Mukhtar and Anjum were taken to the police station where the police threatened the safety of Mukhtar’s family and his son Anjum if he continued to deny the charges.
His family immediately went into hiding. When Mukhtar was released on bail on May 16 the family moved to Abbotabad about 7-8 hours drive from their home in Lahore. In Abbotabad Mukhtar was hospitalized for abdominal pain. He died of gastro-intestinal bleeding on Nov. 2 in Bagh Christian Hospital, Mansehra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, as per the autopsy report.
Mukhtar died while awaiting justice. He was waiting for his name to be cleared so he could return to his home peacefully instead he died with blasphemy charges over his head.