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PAKISTAN: Mentally Ill Christian Man Held in Jail

A Pakistani Christian man with mental health issues who was arrested on the day of his son’s funeral has been charged with blasphemy and is being held in custody.

Iqbal Masih, 65, who is a retired father of nine, and is from Fazlia Colony, Lahore, has been on medication for long standing mental health issues. It is alleged that whenever he stopped taking the medication he would go out into the streets and start shouting abuse at bystanders. After Masih’s son Bobby died following a short illness, he reportedly stopped taking his medication.

According to the complainant Muhammad Waqas, as people visited the house to offer their condolences Masih started shouting abuse. He is accused of then reciting the kalima (the Islamic proclamation of faith) before shouting more abuse.

Although the police arrived at the scene to remove Masih and diffuse the situation, several Muslim leaders gathered, with some of them wanting to set him on fire.

He has previously been admitted to a mental health institution, but his family could not afford to keep him there for prolonged treatment.

Source: Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement

  • Pray that Mr Masih’s mental health difficulties will be taken into consideration, and
    lead to his swift release. Ask the Lord to comfort him during this time of grief and uncertainty.
  • Pray that he will be looked after appropriately during his detention.
  • Pray for the safety of his family.
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