Christian Couple Burnt Alive in Pak for Alleged Blasphemy

M Zulqernain/Lahore
Christian Couple Burnt Alive in Pak for Alleged Blasphemy
File - AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad
Christian Couple Burnt Alive in Pak for Alleged Blasphemy

In a gruesome incident, a Christian couple was today thrashed and burnt alive by a group of angry Muslims in Pakistan's Punjab province for allegedly desecrating the Quran.

The horrific crime was reported from the villages of Kot Radha Kishan of Kasur district, some 50 kilometres from here.

A large number of police personnel were deployed in the villages to provide security to the minority community.

Emaneul Sarfraz, a relative of the deceased couple, told PTI that his cousins - Shahzad Masih, 35, and his wife Shamah, 31, - had been working in the kiln of Muhammad Yousuf Gujjar for sometime near Chak (village) 59.

"The couple along with their four children wanted to leave the kiln as Yousuf was not paying their remuneration. He demanded Rs 5,00,000 from them, if they wanted to quit.

"Two days ago, after an exchange of words Yousuf locked the couple along with their children in a room," Emaneul said.

He further said that an announcement was made today from two mosques of Chak 59 that Shahzad Masih and his wife had committed blasphemy by burning the pages of Quran.

"A large number of Muslims led by area clerics reached the kiln and dragged the couple out of the room after breaking into it.

They first tortured them and then threw them in the kiln.

No one from the crowd listened to the couple, who were pleading that they were innocent as Yousuf had levelled false allegation of blasphemy against them to settle money dispute," Emanuel said adding, "Thank God they did not burn the couple's children".

He alleged that police from the nearby post had reached there on time but did not intervene seeing the charged mob.

"We have taken some 50 people into custody in connection with the killings and raids were underway to arrest more including the kiln owner," Jawad Qamar, police chief of Kasur district, said.

Qamar also denied the incident had taken place in police presence.

Human Liberation Commission Pakistan Chairman Aslam Sahotra said he visited the district headquarters hospital Kasur and saw the remains of couple.

"It was all ashes and some bones of the couple which is left to bury," he said.

Sahotra said there was tension in the area as most of the minorities in Chak 59 and adjacent Kalarakabad villages had left their homes fearing retribution.

He said the police was yet to register a case of murder against Yousuf and others involved in the gory incident.

"We are not satisfied with the steps the police have taken to provide security to the Christians of the area," he said.

However, Qamar said that heavy police deployment was made at the villages of Kot Radha Kishan to provide security to Christians and control law and order situation.

"The police reached there and control the situation. It is always difficult to control religiously charged mob," he added.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has directed Inspector General Police Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera to ensure the security of Christian community.

He also constituted a three-membered committee headed by the Chief Minister Inspection Team Chairman to investigate the matter.

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