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ICC Note:

A Christian student, Sharoon Masih, was beaten to death earlier this week by a Muslim classmate in Burewala in Pakistan’s Vehari District. According to Masih’s uncle, the Christian student had faced severe discrimination from other classmates due to his Christian faith. Christians in Pakistan face widespread discrimination and in some cases are considered untouchable by the nation’s Muslim majority. At times, this discrimination can escalate into deadly violence, as it did at Masih’s school earlier this week. 

09/08/2017 Pakistan (The Nation) – Another beacon of light has been extinguished, this time in Burewala, a town in Vehari District of Punjab.

Sharoon Masih, a young intelligent boy who aimed for the stars, was beaten to death by Muhammad Ahmed Rana, a class fellow along with a couple of other students, for being a Christian. He’s behind bars for the last eight days while the other students are on the run. According to initial reports, Sharoon died due to injuries in the stomach, while the postmortem report has not been given yet.

Sharoon was doing extremely well in his previous school in Chak 461 EB. Due to outstanding result in class 8 final examinations, his teachers encouraged his parents to let him continue his studies. His father got him admitted in MC Model Boys Government High School Burewala of District Vehari. However, Sharoonwas not able to adjust in the hostile environment.

Although Elyab Masih, Sharoon’s father is without a job for the last eight months, still he wanted his son to study and used his savings to get Sharoon admitted to school. To meet the hardships of life Sharoon too used to do manual labor while continuing his studies so his parents could not feel the burden.

From the very first day of school Sharon was mistreated by the teachers and class fellows especially Muhammad Ahmed Rana, said Sharoon’s family. His paternal uncle Liaquat speaking to The Nation said, “Sharoon complained to his father that the teacher had slapped him for not wearing a uniform and was told to stand in the sun for the whole day. His father had said that Sharoon should take off from school the next day; he took a loan of Rs. 2,000 to buy his son the school uniform and told him that he would talk to the Principal the next day. But it was too late, he was killed that day.”

When asked what happened on that day Liaqat said, “We don’t know for sure what happened but some students say Ahmed tried to stop Sharoon’s path first then they had an argument on mobile phone which led to a fight and resulted in his death. When the fight broke out some students went to the teachers to tell them what was happening but no one came to see, rather said we are drinking tea go away.”

Regarding religious discrimination Liaquat said, “On first day of school Sharoon told us that kids at school were not letting him drink water from the same glass as he was a Christian. Later they started calling him a ‘chura’ (a derogatory term for sweeper). We believe this would have been one of the reasons for his death.”

As for the police and politicians of the area, Liaquat said no one came to them after Sharoon’s death as they are siding with the other party. “We vote for these people but no one came to help us. Police is also not helping; they are not taking any action against principal of the school.”

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