Christian Falsely Accused of Blasphemy Succumbs to Injuries

A fire is burning in the street. People are milling about in the background. Nazir Masih's photo is also in a corner of the image.
Angered mob members burned
Nazir Masih's belongings in the street.
Photos: ECSPE

On May 25th, an angry mob rampaged through a Christian community in Sargodha, Punjab, instigated by false allegations that a 74-year-old Christian man named Nazir Masih had burned pages of the Quran. For more details on the attack, see this report. With deep sorrow, we regret to announce that Nazir succumbed to his injuries just after midnight on June 3rd.

After sustaining serious head wounds, Nazir was taken to a military hospital in Rawalpindi for treatment, as well as for security reasons. Although doctors performed two surgeries to remove bone fragments from his brain, his condition remained precarious. Despite being placed on a ventilator, he passed away during the night due to multiple organ failures. The Christian man's body has since been buried in his hometown of Sargodha.

The family was advised not to return to their home for several days, or until it's safe to do so. However, Nazir's son, Sultan, has expressed concern that his family may never be able to return to their community. "The entire episode has been so traumatizing for all of us that I don't think we will ever be able to resume our normal lives there," he states.

Dozens of arrests have been made in connection to the incident, along with an investigation into the blasphemy allegations. In response to the tragedy, expressions of condolence and calls for justice have been issued by numerous organizations. Bishop Azad Marshall, who serves as president for the Church of Pakistan, wrote, "Yet again, hate has brought us to the place where we must ask questions." The chairman for the Pakistan Ulema Council, a body of Islamic scholars, called for swift justice, stating that taking the law into one's own hands was both unlawful and illegal.

Please lift up Nazir's family before God's throne of grace as they face this difficult time of overwhelming grief, asking the Lord to fill them with greatly needed comfort, peace and courage. May those responsible for this senseless tragedy be brought to justice. Pray that other Christians in this community and throughout various areas of Pakistan, who are at risk of the dangers associated with false accusations due to their faith in Christ, will draw tremendous encouragement from the assurance that they are part of a global family that is prayerfully standing with them.

  • Current Ministry Projects

    VOMC partners to train Christian women in sewing skills throughout Pakistan to provide a sustainable source of income for their families and encourage them in their faith and witness for Christ.

    Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Women’s Ministry

  • Country Information

    Population
    247,653,551 (2023 est.)

    Ethnicity (%)
    Punjabi (44.7), Pashtun [Pathan] (15.4), Sindhi (14.1), Saraiki (8.4) Muhajirs (7.6) Balochi (3.6), Other (6.3)

    Religion (%)
    Islam (96.5), Other - Christian and Hindu (3.5)

    Leader
    President Asif Ali Zardari (2024)

    Government type
    Federal parliamentary republic

    Legal system
    Common law system with Islamic law influence

    Source: CIA World Factbook

  • Pray for Pakistan

    Pray that amendments will be made to Pakistan's existing blasphemy laws so that the country's citizens – including its children – will be protected from injustice and abuse. May our Lord's mercy and justice prevail, not only in the judiciary system but also in the hearts of the country's militants. Ask Him to transform their "hearts of stone" into hearts that are receptive to His love, mercy and the workings of His Holy Spirit – not only for the purpose of protecting the Christian minority but also for the salvation of their own eternal souls.

Pakistan News

  • Blasphemy Conviction for Online Posts
    Furniture and possessions are strewn on a street. Some of them are burning.
    The riots in 2023.
    Photo: Morning Star News

    In August 2023, the Christian colony of Jaranwala was filled with violence after allegations of blasphemy were made against two brothers. During the rampage, as many as 400 homes and 26 church buildings were damaged or destroyed. For more details, and to view video footage of the attacks, see this page.

  • Wife of Nazir Masih Dies of a Heart Attack
    Naseem and Nazir
    Naseem and Nazir
    Photo: Morning Star News
     

    In May, shocking images of mob violence were revealed after 74-year-old Nazir Masih was falsely accused of burning pages from the Quran. The elderly Christian man was fatally wounded during the resulting mob violence, which also led to the destruction of his shoemaking business, along with several attacks against other Christians. Further details on the violent rampage are available here.

  • Christian Falsely Accused of Blasphemy Succumbs to Injuries
    A fire is burning in the street. People are milling about in the background. Nazir Masih's photo is also in a corner of the image.
    Angered mob members burned
    Nazir Masih's belongings in the street.
    Photos: ECSPE

    On May 25th, an angry mob rampaged through a Christian community in Sargodha, Punjab, instigated by false allegations that a 74-year-old Christian man named Nazir Masih had burned pages of the Quran. For more details on the attack, see this report. With deep sorrow, we regret to announce that Nazir succumbed to his injuries just after midnight on June 3rd.

  • Allegations Lead to Mob Violence
    A fire is burning in the street. People are milling about in the background.
    Angered mob members burned
    Nazir Masih's belongings in the street.
    Photo: ECSPE

    An angry mob consisting of hundreds of people rampaged through a Christian community in Sargodha, Punjab, on May 25th. Thankfully, police were able to disperse the crowd with tear gas and rescue at least two Christian families whose homes had been surrounded. However, significant damages took place during the mob attack, and 74-year-old Nazir Masih was left with life-threatening injuries. Stirred up by Islamic clerics who accused Nazir of blasphemy, the mob ransacked and burned the Christian man's home and shoemaking business. The crowd also attacked other Christians in the community and threw stones at responding police, injuring at least ten officers.