A Christian man attacked in Pakistan on May 25 died in the hospital on Monday, causing a leading bishop calls for stronger protection of religious minorities in the Muslim nation.

According to local observers, hundreds of Muslims took part in the mob violence in Sargodha, Pakistan, located in the Punjab province, in May. The incident began with an accusation that a Christian had defaced a Koran, the Muslim holy book, which led to an assault in which his shoemaking factory was burned to the ground.

Nazir Gill Masih, a Christian man from Sargodha in his 70s, was the man who died.

RELATED: Pakistan bishop calls anti-Christian mob violence a ‘dark day’

Bishop Samson Shukardin, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan, said unless laws are passed making it an offence to fabricate allegations of blasphemy, Christians will never feel safe in their own country. Christians represent just under two percent of the country’s population of 236 million.

“It is very important that legislation is introduced whereby those found to have wrongly accused people of blasphemy are given sentences including jail terms,” the bishop told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are among the most controversial in the world, with critics charging they’re often used to harass and intimidate religious minorities. One oft-cited example is Asia Bibbi, an illiterate Catholic woman who spent almost a decade on death row after a charge of blasphemy in 2010 and who was eventually forced to seek refuge in Canada.

RELATED: Pakistan prelate says with elections looming, blasphemy laws should be repealed

Shukardin said alleged government inaction has emboldened more people to weaponize the controversial laws against innocent minorities.

Last August, a wave of violence against Christians in the Punjab’s Jaranwala district also led to no convictions against the attackers.

Hundreds of Muslims went on a rampage over allegations that a Christian man and his friend had desecrated a Koran. Christians who fled their homes to escape the attackers later returned to a scene of destruction affecting homes and places of work.

“Nothing has happened to bring justice following the Jaranwala incident. This is a disaster. It is not good for the minorities,” the bishop said.

“Until the government is serous and makes laws to protect the minorities, especially the Christians who are the major minority in Punjab, the situation regarding misuse of blasphemy legislation will only get worse,” he added.

“We are not asking for anything that is against the country of Pakistan. We are simply asking for the protection of our lives and the lives of our families,” he said.

RELATED: Religious minorities in Pakistan most affected by modern-day slavery, British report says

“We need to bring justice and safety for our minorities and indeed all those who are treated badly because of their religion or anything that is not in accordance with human dignity,” Shukardin said.

The 2023 report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom noted that Pakistan’s religious freedom conditions had continued to deteriorate since last year.

“Religious minorities were subject to frequent attacks and threats, including accusations of blasphemy, targeted killings, lynchings, mob violence, forced conversions, sexual violence against women and girls, and desecration of houses of worship and cemeteries,” the U.S. commission said.

Shukardin agreed persecution is getting worse.

“You get the major incidents such as what happened in Jaranwala in August and what happened towards the end of May in Sargodha but there are so many other more minor incidents taking place. It is an alarming situation,” the bishop told ACN.

“Generally, when you see how many incidents have taken place, you begin to realize that these incidents are increasing day by day,” he added.

He said only foreign pressure would force Pakistan to act.

“It needs pressure to come from abroad – government to government,” the Pakistani bishop said.