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ICC Note:

Another Christian in Pakistan has been accused and arrested for allegedly committing blasphemy against Islam. According to reports, Ashfaq Masih was accused of committing blasphemy after getting into an argument with a Muslim customer at his bicycle repair shop. When the customer said he would not pay the full price for the service, an argument between Masih and the customer broke out and eventually led to the blasphemy accusation. False accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan are common and are often motivated by personal score settling and religious hatred. Will Masih receive a fair trial and be absolved of the crimes he is alleged for? 

06/26/2017 Pakistan (Dawn) – A Christian bicycle mechanic in Lahore was arrested on June 15 over allegations of blasphemy after he became involved in a dispute regarding payment for services rendered to a customer, police said Thursday.

Human rights activist Napoleon Qayyum told Dawn that Ashfaq Masih ─ a resident of Mariam Colony in Green Town, Lahore ─ was working at a repair shop in the Bagarhian suburb of the city when Muhammad Ishfaq, a resident of the same area, had his bicycle repaired by him.

The two became embroiled in a heated argument when Masih demanded Rs35-40 for his services and Ishfaq requested that Masih reduce the price as he is a poor man, Qayyum said.

The disagreement escalated when Masih refused to lower the fee, reminding the bicycle owner that he was a poor man himself and needed the money as well, according to the rights activist.

After a crowd gathered to witness the incident, unidentified individuals levelled accusations of blasphemy against Masih, prompting further escalation of the already-tense situation, Qayyum claimed.

Police, who were called to the scene, arrived and arrested Masih, shifting him to the Green Town police station.

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