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6/4/2024 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) — About a week after suffering a brutal mob attack, Nazir Masih, who was in his 70s, died early Monday morning at a military hospital near Islamabad. His funeral service took place Tuesday at his family’s home in Sargodha.

The mob attacked Masih on May 25 after claims that he had burned pages from a Quran circulated throughout the Mujahid colony in Gillwala, a predominantly Christian community in Sargodha. Masih suffered severe head trauma in the attack.

“He was a well-known, respectable, and industrious person in his area,” an ICC staffer in Pakistan said. “He was running a small shoe-making factory and cosmetic shop. His family is a well-to-do family.”

Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws, which are often weaponized against Christians, prohibit the desecration of the Quran. Those who violate the laws are often killed.

The morning of the attack, leaders in local mosques called for area Muslims to gather at Masih’s house. Hundreds of people soon started attacking Masih’s home and shoe factory. The mob then attacked him, beating him with bricks and logs. Members of the mob also attacked police as they attempted to make arrests. The mob also attacked the ambulance as it transported Masih to the hospital.

As ICC staff awaited confirmed details on Masih’s death, we reviewed videos of his funeral procession. One shows a large crowd of Christians carrying Masih’s black coffin, covered in navy blue and red fabric with a large yellow cross. Another video shows his black coffin with a large red cross being lowered into his grave.

Police detained dozens of people involved following the attack. They also placed members of Masih’s family in protective police custody. International Christian Concern (ICC) staff on the ground assisted the family members after they were released. Police are also investigating the blasphemy charges against Masih. ICC staff has reported that Masih’s family and other local Christians remain distressed and frightened.

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