A ten-year-old Christian boy in Pakistan was allegedly raped, tortured, and killed by his Muslim employers at a dangerous scrap metal factory for demanding full pay to help support his mother, brother, and drug-addict father, a media outlet reported over the weekend.
The U.S. government has designated Pakistan a “Country of Particular Concern (CPC)” for engaging and tolerating “particularly severe religious freedom violations, meaning those that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious” against Christians and other minorities.
On Saturday, the Pakistan Christian Post reported:
Mohammad Akram and Irfan, nicknamed Kalo, were both arrested in Sarghoda on the 14th July, for the murder of Badil Shahzad, from the village of Rasheedabad in Essa Nagri, Faisalabad.
A post-mortem conducted on the corpse of Badil while at the Allied hospital revealed that he had been subjected to a sustained ferocious attack to the head and had received multiple injuries over his body. Moon has been traumatized following his brother’s death and hasn’t left his house since and often screams in terror thinking the men responsible will take him too.
Badil was pronounced dead on July 11 after he succumbed to injuries sustained the previous day.
Mehwish Bhatti, the national executive for the British Asian Christian Association (BACA), reportedly declared:
Badil lived a life of poverty and has been killed simply for working [too] hard and asking for [a] just reward. His tormentors and exploiters knew he was a Christian and used that to treat Badil as they wanted, but his vulnerability in life will be his strength in heaven, as this church-attending young child always retained his love for Christ gaining him entry to heaven. The evil men who beat this young child must be brought to justice so that they cannot deliver their evil actions on any more innocent children.
Juliet Chowdhry, a BACA trustee, added:
That child labour still exists, is immensely profuse and is so brutal is a blight on the reputation of Pakistan. Employers for decades have exploited young children in Pakistan – none more so than Christian children who are targeted as they live in the most impoverished and isolated communities.
The Pakistani constitution prohibits child labor, but breaches of the law are ignored and penalized lightly in the rare chance of prosecution, the Pakistan Christian Post reported, adding:
Badil, the son of a drug addict Shahzad Masih (42 yrs) took a job working for Mr. Akram at his scrap metal dealership for 100 rupees [63 U.S. cents] a day … to help with his family meet their daily living demands.
Mr. Masih became a burden on the family finances trying to feed his drug habit as the boys’ mother, Sharifa Bibi (40 yrs) was working as a maid earning only 3500 Pak rupees ($22) per month.
Two days before his death, the boy came home later than usual with only half of his wage, infuriating his mother who scolded the child and allegedly urged him to quit his job and focus on his education instead.
The boy’s brother reportedly witnessed the factory’s Muslim employers attack Badil on July 10 but did not intervene out of fear for his safety.
Moon, the victim’s brother, reportedly told BACA:
They took Badil inside the store which is full of scrap. For half an hour I was completely unaware of what was happening with Badil inside. Eventually both men came outside and pretended as if nothing had happened inside.I thought my brother had also left the store from another exit so I went to look for him. I searched vigorously for 15 minutes and then saw my mother, so I rushed to her to tell her what had happened.
The mother reportedly found her son unconscious and barely alive.
In its annual report issued in June, USCIRF urged the State Department to re-designate Pakistan as a country of particular concern, arguing, “Extremist groups and societal actors continued to discriminate against and attack religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadis, and Shi’a Muslims.”
“The government of Pakistan failed to adequately protect these groups, and it perpetrated systematic, ongoing, egregious religious freedom violations,” it added.