Pakistani pastor forced to flee church, home over blasphemy charges

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 25, 2013 11:20 hrs

A Pakistani pastor has been forced to abandon his house and flee in order to escape blasphemy charges after some of his parishioners accused him of defiling the Bible.

The pastor, Asghar Nizam Ranjha, denied the blasphemy charges and maintained that they were concocted by a local Christian family who have a grudge against him, reports The Express Tribune.

Ranjha was appointed the pastor of the church in Ferozewala, Sheikhupura district, by the Salvation Army where he served for about a year.

On January 19, an application was filed with the DPO seeking an FIR against him for allegedly defiling the Bible.

Ranjha said he and his accusers were summoned by Sub Inspector Nawaz eight days ago. He said SI Nawaz advised him to apologise and leave the area immediately, else his life was in danger. He said his only option was to apologise and leave.

The pastor said he left the police station under police protection and was not even able to return to his house to collect his belongings. His wife and four children joined him later.

Ranjha said that the allegations against him were baseless and were raised by Mushtaq Masih and his family, whose ancestors had donated the land for the church. He alleged that Masih's family used to call it the 'Church of Siddique' and acted liked they owned it and would stop people they did not like from attending.

Ranjha said that he sought to put a stop to this, which was why they had developed a grudge against him. He claimed that they used the blasphemy charge to get him to leave. (ANI)

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