A Pakistani Christian man has been arrested on charges of blasphemy after a portion of the Quran was discovered in a drain. David Masih was detained on 30th August in the Risalpure neighbourhood of Nowshera after residents found the pages and posted a video of their discovery on social media.
Police say Masih has been charged with committing blasphemy under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s Penal Code - part of the same law that resulted in Christian Asia Bibi spending a decade on death row.
The police have launched an investigation into Masih's actions, though they have yet to release any information connecting him with the drain discovery.
If he is found guilty, Masih could face life in prison.
There are currently 25 Christians being held in 22 blasphemy cases across Pakistan, which is known for its extremely harsh Islamic blasphemy laws. According to International Christian Concern, between 1987 and 2017, 1,534 individuals in Pakistan have been accused of blasphemy - 54 per cent were from religious minorities, with 238 (15.5 per cent) being Christians.
Christians make up less than 2 per cent of Pakistan’s Muslim-majority population.
In relation to the latest blasphemy case, ICC's Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are concerned by the news that another Christian has been arrested on blasphemy charges. We call on Pakistani authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the accusation to ensure that David Masih has not been falsely accused.
"The abuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws must be curbed. Too often these laws have been a tool in the hands of extremists seeking to stir up religiously motivated violence against minority communities. Without real reform, religious minorities, including Christians, will face more false blasphemy accusations and the extreme violence that often accompanies these accusations.”