Christian in Pakistan Tortured to Death for Bathing in Muslims’ Well
Killers Claim Christian “Polluted” the Muslims’ Water
03/02/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Saleem Masih, a 22-year-old Pakistani Christian, was severely tortured by a Muslim landlord in Pakistan’s Kasur District because he used the landlord’s tube-well to bathe. Three days later, on February 28, Saleem died at Lahore General Hospital due to the severity of his injuries.
On February 25, Saleem was working as a day laborer in an agricultural field owned by Sher Dogar in Bhagiyana village, located in the Kasur District. Early in the morning, after Masih finished unloading chaff in the fields, he rinsed himself off in a nearby tube-well. When Dogar and other Muslims saw what Saleem was doing, they rushed over, pulled Saleem out of the water, and began to beat him.
“They abused and tortured [Saleem] for ‘polluting’ the Muslims’ water,” Waris Masih, Saleem’s uncle, told ICC. “They got aggressive because a ‘Choora’ (a derogatory term used to denote Pakistani Christians as unclean) dared to make their water unclean. They claimed this would make their entire crop filthy.”
According to multiple reports, Dogar and six other Muslims, including Muhammad Iqbal, Altaf, Ali Shehzad, Jabbar Arain, Mushtaq, and Haji Muhammad, dragged Saleem to Dogar’s cattle farm where they chained him down and tortured him for two hours. According to Saleem’s relatives, he was beaten with sticks and iron rods, struck with electric shocks, and rolled over by an iron rod, causing multiple fractures to his left arm and ribs.
At approximately 9:00 a.m., Saleem’s father, Ghafoor Masih, was called by the police to Dogar’s cattle farm. There he discovered Saleem unconscious and bloodied due to the torture. Saleem’s father rushed him to the district hospital where he received initial treatment, but was transferred to Lahore General Hospital due to the severity of his injuries. Saleem remained in a coma for three days until he died on February 28.
“This incident has damaged my strength,” Ghafoor told ICC. “He was my child star and the face of the family. The culprits have killed him very brutally. I want justice for my son and punishment for the killers.”
“Christians and Muslims have been living in this village together for over four decades,” Mian Muhammad Abbas, a Muslim community leader, told ICC while condemning the attack. “We still want to live in peace. This village and country belong to every citizen and we are sad for Saleem Masih.”
Police registered a First Information Report against Dogar and the six others who participated in the attack, but none are currently in police custody. According to several local reports, police granted Dogar and the others pre-arrest bail and released them after briefly holding them in custody.
ICC’s Regional Manager, William Stark, said, “International Christian Concern is deeply disturbed by this brutal attack on Saleem Masih. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Saleem’s family and the Christian community of Bhagiyana. No one should fear being attacked and killed because their religious identity is considered ‘unclean.’ Authorities in Pakistan must take concrete action to provide Saleem’s family with justice and ensure that similar incidents do not happen in the future.”