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Christian Framed for Bootlegging for Refusing to Become Muslim

01/30/09 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – A radical Muslim police chief in Pakistan has falsely accused a Christian man of bootlegging to pressure him to convert to Islam.

Family members of the Christian man, Akmal Masih, also known as “Teddy,” told ICC that on January 2 at 12:00pm, a close aide of the radical Muslim police chief Muhammad Afzal Lalli of Factory Area Police Station in Sargodha came to their house and demanded a bribe of 20,000 Pakistani Rupees ($250).

The aide, whose name is Muhammad Manshah, told Akmal that if he did not pay the bribe and convert to Islam, the police would prosecute him for selling alcohol illegally. Akmal refused to either give the bribe or convert to Islam. A family member said, “This act of Masih [Akmal] enraged Muhammad Manshah and he left in [a] flaming temper.”

Almost seven hours later, police chief Lalli raided Akmal’s house with a heavy police force and no warrant. The police rifled through the house with excessive force, breaking door locks and emptying suitcases, but could not find any sign of alcohol on the premises.

According to a witness, “Policemen kicked and slapped a frail elderly Christian woman Saidaan Bibi (71) and called her [names],” causing her to fall down.

Despite the lack of evidence, the police chief arrested Akmal and led him away in handcuffs. The police then lodged a court case against him and incarcerated him in the Sargodha District Jail. The police claim that they recovered 30 bottles of alcohol from Akmal’s house.

Police chief Lalli told ICC that he raided Akmal Masih’s house based on a tip from Muhammad Manshah.

In response, a crowd of Christians from Akmal’s neighborhood, Noori Gate Christian Colony, gathered at the Regional Police Officer’s office to protest the case. The officer promised to look into the matter in order to disperse the crowd. However, the police in Pakistan often make such promises but never follow up on them.

Please contact the Pakistani embassy in your country and ask them to make sure Akmal Masih is released from prison and exonerated from the false charges.

Pakistan Embassies:

USA: (202) 243-6500,
Canada: (613) 238-7881,
UK: 0870-005-6967,