"Quran" by Habib M’henni / Public Domain

Her American father was shot in a blasphemy trial in Pakistan. Now she’s fighting for justice.

Aug 20, 2020

By Aysha Khan

Mashal Naseem thought she knew pain two years ago, the day she received the news her father had been imprisoned on blasphemy charges after being lured to Pakistan, where such crimes of conscience have landed people on death row.

But late last month, she understood what true agony felt like. On July 29, her father, 57-year-old Tahir Ahmad Naseem, was killed in cold blood — in the very courtroom where he was being tried for claiming to be a prophet.

“I want people to know he had a family,” said his daughter, a 20-year-old student. She and her mother, sister and brother all live in the suburbs of Chicago. “He was somebody’s father, somebody’s uncle, somebody’s husband. He had the biggest heart I’ve ever seen. He was the kind of person I’ll probably never see again.”

These days, she finds herself dissociating, getting lost in memories of walking with her father in nature reserves until her feet gave out, discussing philosophy and God. She writes letters to him, plans for the funeral service her family hopes to hold soon — and prays no family faces this torment again.

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