Christian couple killed by mob over blasphemy in Pakistan

by

A Christian couple in Pakistan was beaten to death by a mob over their alleged burning of pieces of the Quran.

“Yesterday an incident of desecration of the holy Koran took place in the area and today the mob first beat the couple and later set their bodies on fire at a brick kiln,” senior police official Bin-Yameen told AFP.

The attack took place in a village some 60 kilometres southwest of Lahore, where the victims, Shahzad Masih and his wife Shama, worked in a brick kiln.

“The couple were originally from Clarkabad, a Christian village a few kilometeres away from Raiwind but they had been working at Yousaf Gujjar’s brick kiln for the last 3-4 years and were living in a quarter in the premises,” a relative of the couple was quoted as saying by Pakistan Today.

The relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the wife had found amulets belonging to her deceased father-in-law, who is said to have practiced “black magic”.

“Shama burnt the amulets and threw them on a garbage heap. Irfan, a Muslim co-worker at the kiln, noticed some half burnt pieces of paper from the amulets and raised clamour, claiming that these were pages from the holy Quran,” the relative said. “Soon the word spread and at 7am on Tuesday, a Muslim mob of about 3,000-4,000 people attacked the couple’s quarters at the brick kiln and tortured the couple to death. They later threw their bodies into the kiln and completely burnt them.”

Pakistan is no stranger to mob violence over charges of blasphemy. In July, a woman was killed by a mob of people, along with her two young grandchildren, after a member of her community was accused of posting blasphemous material on Facebook.

Pakistan also upholds controversial blasphemy laws, with people regularly receiving death sentences for offences such as “insulting the prophet”.