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Pakistani Christian peasant murdered

By Sheraz Khurram Khan

8/7/07 Pakistan (ANS) — A Muslim feudal lord has allegedly murdered his former Christian peasant on July 30 in Rani Ki Minar village some 12 kilometers from Sheikhupura district in the Punjab province of Pakistan , ANS has learnt.

Sadiq Masih, 45 and his family had worked for a landed influential Muslim. The relations between the two strained when Masih and his family members quit working for him a year ago due to allegedly immoral and inhuman attitude of the man toward them. Masih and his family served him for ten years.

In what appears to be a bid to take revenge from Masih and his family, the man implicated Masih’s sons, Khalid, 14 and Basharat, 17 in the murder case of a Muslim man, Jamil with whom the man’s daughter had allegedly eloped.

Sending of two of Masih’s sons behind the bars did not calm the man’s tempers who continued to nurse grudge against Masih over his move to quit working for him. The man and his relatives allegedly threatened Masih they would kill him if he did not get back to work.

Masih did not take the threats seriously. The accused were said to have shot and killed Masih on July 30 at 6 pm. The assailants also opened fire at Masih’s family, leaving his son Tariq critically injured. The injured Christian man is now undergoing treatment in Mayo hospital in Lahore .

“The life of Tariq is still under threats because Chauhdries (feudal lords) want to kill him also because he is the complainant in the Police First Information Report which was lodged against the culprits”, said Lahore based Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) news release.

Headed by CLAAS National Director Joseph Francis an investigating team comprising Ms. Aneeqa Maria Akhtar and Shameer Asif visited the village on July 31.

The CLAAS Chief pledged to get the postmortem of Masih’s body done as well as assumed the responsibility of getting the deceased buried.

“All the expenses of the funeral, including coffin and ambulance were borne by CLAAS”, said the release.

CLAAS also arranged for the security of the villagers and especially the family of Sadiq Masih (deceased) because the Chauhdries (feudal lords) threatened to kill the whole family”, it added.

CLAAS urged believers across the world to pray for Masih’s family as they fear the influential Muslims of the village could mount yet another attack. Only 15 Christian families live in Rani Ki Minar, a pre-dominantly Muslim village.

“Today we at CLAAS are praying for the deceased and his family. We also request all of you to pray for them and give them courage to face the hardships of life. We also request you to pray for CLAAS and its team, who is always willing to face any sort of threats to help the down trodden”, said the CLAAS news release.