Family of Briton facing blasphemy charges in Pakistan cry foul

London, Feb 1: The family of a British man facing blasphemy charges in Pakistan wants him back in Britain, claiming he was innocent and had been targeted, according to a media report.

Masud Ahmad, 72, is currently on bail in the Pakistani city of Lahore after he was allegedly tricked into publicly reading from the Quran – an act which is forbidden for members of the minority Ahmadi sect to which he belongs. He now faces three years in jail, The Independent reported Friday.

Ahmad’s son Abbas, 39, who lives in Glasgow along with a brother and two sisters, said their father had been targeted by powerful figures linked to a right wing religious group, the report said.

“We are concerned he will never see his nine grandchildren but we are more concerned about his life. We know what happens when these sort of cases come up,” Abbas was quoted as saying.

The case comes after a Pakistani-born Briton was last week sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Mohammad Asghar, 65, from Edinburgh was awarded the death sentence in Pakistan for claiming to be the Prophet. He has a history of severe mental illness.

Asghar was arrested in 2010 after he wrote letters to different people, including a police officer, claiming he was the Prophet.

“We want to bring him back to Britain. In Pakistan there is no justice. Someone has made a false case and they have sent him to prison for nothing,” Abbas said.

“The last month we have been so worried about him. They have no proof that he was pretending to be a Muslim. Everyone can read the Quran – it is for everyone not just Muslims. It is a holy book just like the Bible,” he added.

IANS