16 Nov Mentally ill Pakistani Christian man held in jail over blasphemy allegations
A Pakistani Christian man with mental health issues who was arrested on the day of his son’s funeral has been charged with blasphemy and is being held in custody.
Iqbal Masih, 65, who is a retired father of nine, and is from Fazlia Colony, Lahore, has been on medication for long standing mental health issues.
It is alleged that whenever he stopped taking the medication her would go out into the streets and start shouting abuse at bystanders.
After Masih’s son Bobby died following a short illness he reportedly stopped taking his medication.
According to the complainant Muhammad Waqas, as people visited the house to offer their condolences Masih started shouting abuse.
He is accused of then reciting the kalima (the Islamic proclamation of faith) before shouting more abuse.
Although the police arrived at the scene to remove Masih and diffuse the situation, several Muslim leaders gathered, with some of them wanting to set him on fire.
Some of the more sensible people recommended that Masih be handed over to the police as he was experiencing mental health issues.
He has previously been admitted to a mental health institution, but his family could not afford to keep him there for prolonged treatment.