Pakistani authorities have detained six police officers on murder charges linked to the killing of a Christian boy who beat up a fellow Muslim classmate who allegedly “bullied” him “regularly,” reports the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), which tracks cases of Christian persecution in the Muslim-majority country.
After beating the young 14-year-old Christian to death with “fists, kicks, and rifle butts,” the police officers disposed of the body “on the roadside and fled,” the victim’s father, Mushtaq Masih, told the persecution monitor group.
One of the teachers who witnessed the horrifyingly wicked incident at the Ideal Science Academy in Punjab accused the police officers of “terrorism.”
Arslan Masih was killed after having been dragged out of a classroom by a band of Police intent on getting revenge on the young Christian, after he prevailed in a fight with one of the Muslim boys who had been bullying him at school. One of the police officers was also an uncle of the Muslim boy who Arslan beat in the fight and apparently found it unacceptable that Arslan had stood up to and bested his nephew. Detective Constable Sardar, could not bear the fact that a Christian touched a Muslim despite Arslan being forced to defend himself in the altercation that was initiated by the Muslim pupil.
It transpired that Arslan was being bullied regularly and had only got into the fight in an attempt to stop the daily torment he was receiving from the Muslim pupils who, his father Mushtaq Masih has informed us, were attempting to convert Arslan to Islam.
Although seven policemen “stormed” the academy on October 9th to drag the victim out, only six have been arrested and charged.
“Arslan was attending classes at the Ideal Science Academy [in Punjab] when … policemen kicked open the door and dragged him out of the classroom,” the victim’s father told BPCA.
“Sardar, alias Billu, a police constable, helped them to identify the boy. The band of police officers started beating Arslan with fists, kicks and rifle butts and Arslan was in visible pain and was screaming for the men to stop,” Mushtaq Masih continued, adding that police officer “Rashid struck Arslan’s head with a pistol which [caused the victim to] bleed. When they bundled him into the police van, Arslan collapsed and died. Later the police team threw Arslan’s body on the roadside and fled.”
According to Open Doors USA, which has been monitoring the oppression of Christians across the world for 25 years, the level of persecution against members of the Christian minority in Pakistan is “extreme.”
Wilson Chowdhry, the BPCA chairman, declared:
Arslan is the fifth Christian to have died in police custody in Pakistan since the inception of the BPCA [in 2009]. What is most alarming about this account is that he did not commit a crime and was on his college premises at the time, where hundreds of eye witnesses observed his murder.
The displayed audacity of police officers in this attack reminds us how corrupt and unfit for its purpose the police force of Pakistan is, while underlining the brutal tactics of a force uninhibited by senior officers, governing bodies and a pseudo complaints commission.
Authorities in Pakistan often use the country’s strict anti-blasphemy law, which carries a punishment of life in prison, or death, to target religious minorities, primarily Christians.
“This [murder] paints a very bleak future for minorities in Pakistan who face the most discrimination and persecution from statutory services,” noted Chowdhry. “If anything, confidence in the Police from minorities in Pakistan has reached its lowest ebb.”
Nevertheless, BPCA reports that the family of the young Christian “may get some rare justice through the highly biased legal system of Pakistan, in which Christians are normally denied a fair trial.”
Law enforcement officials have arrested six of their fellow police officers and charged them with “aggravated murder” and other offenses, including rioting while armed with a deadly weapon.
“Police have cooperated well with the family and the academy teacher Arslan Farhan Taj has registered an FIR [first information report] of terrorism against the culprits,” pointed out Mehwish Bhatti, the lead BPCA officer in Pakistan.
The young Christian victim was a student at the Ideal Science Academy in the Jhabran Mandi village of the Sheikhupura district in Punjab, the most populous province in Muslim-majority Pakistan and the second largest by area.
Arslan’s corpse was “found by the roadside by his family who first led a protest by the dead body on the street where it lay as hundreds of Christians gathered,” notes BPCA. “At the behest of the police they later took his corpse to Babar Medical Clinic where he was pronounced dead on arrival.”