A mob of four wealthy men kidnaped and subsequently gang-raped a 7-year-old boy before they disposed of his body near a Christian district in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, according to media reports.
Pakistan’s The Express Tribune notes that the name of the boy, who was reported missing last Tuesday night in Bahawalnagar, has not been released to protect his family.
Locals discovered the remains of the boy, referred to by the pseudonym Asif and a resident of Moza Soda Basti, a day after he was reported missing.
“According to reports, the body was sent for post-mortem examination which revealed that the 7-year-old was killed after being brutally raped. A police official Sahar Fareed said an FIR [First Information Report] had been lodged against four suspects of whom three have been arrested,” reports The Express Tribune.
The three alleged rapists who were arrested have been identified as Ayaz, Mujeebur Rehman, and Ayaz.
“Police officials are still looking for Asad who managed to escape from the scene,” Jam Mazoor, police station head officer (SHO), told The Express Tribune.
The Express Tribune learned from an unnamed local that the suspects come from affluent families and were under the influence of alcohol when they abducted the child and took him to their dera (camp or settlement) where they sexually abused him.
“The men then used a rope to kill Asif,” revealed the Tribune.
According to Open Doors, a human rights organization that focuses on raising awareness about Christian oppression, Pakistan ranks eighth in the World Watch List of countries where Christians face persecution.
The Christian persecution was as designated “extreme” by the organization, with the source of persecution described as “Islamic extremism.”
“In 2015, Pakistan saw a spike in the number of attacks on Christians, ranging from forced conversion of Christian girls to vigilante mob killings of Christian families,” reports The Foreign Desk.
The CIA World Factbook shows that 96 percent of the population in Pakistan is considered Muslim, while the remaining 4 percent are identified as either Christian, Hindu, or other.
In 2014, the case of Asia Bibi prompted international outrage when the country upheld the death sentence of a young Christian mother falsely accused by her coworkers of blasphemy.
“On December 26, police arrested six people accused of involvement in the gang-rape of a teenage girl in Lahore,” notes The Express Tribune. “The 15-year-old survivor had left for a tailor’s shop near her house when she went missing, the complainant said.”