[Reader-list] Pakistani Christian couple refuses to convert: husband is burnt alive, wife raped by police

Pawan Durani pawan.durani at gmail.com
Mon Mar 29 11:52:22 IST 2010


Pakistani Christian couple refuses to convert: husband is burnt alive,
wife raped by police
by Fareed Khan

Both husband and wife worked for a wealthy Muslim businessman in
Rawalpindi. Their three children, ranging from 7 and 12, were forced
to watch their parents brutalised. The man has suffered 80 per cent
burns, and hospital doctors do not think he will survive. Christian
organisations stage protests.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Arshed Masih, 38, is still fighting for his
life in Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, a city not far from
Pakistan’s capital. With the help of police, Muslim extremists last
Friday set him on fire for refusing to convert to Islam and raped his
wife, local sources told AsiaNews. The incident occurred in front of a
local police station.
In 2005, Masih and his wife began working for a wealthy Muslim
businessman, he as driver and she as his wife’s maid. Recently, the
two fell out of favour with their employer and his family because they
insisted on remaining Christian.

During the incident, Masih’s wife, Martha, “was raped by police
agents,” local sources said. The couple’s three children, ranging in
age from 7 and 12, were forced to watch their parents being

“Masih and his wife are currently being treated in hospital,” Holy
Family Hospital officials said. “He was listed in serious condition
with about 80 per cent of his body burned,” the BosNewsLife agency
reported. With that kind of burns, hospital officials said the
38-year-old victim (pictured) is not likely to survive.

On Sunday, the Government of Punjab government announced an
investigation into what happened. “The matter will be investigated and
the culprits will be arrested,” Punjab’s Minister of Law Rana
Sanaullah said.

The Christian couple lived with their children in the servant quarters
of Sheikh Mohammad Sultan’s estate in Rawalpindi. In January,
religious leaders and Sultan reportedly told Arshed to convert to
Islam with his whole family. After he refused, they threatened him
with "dire consequences".

Arshed offered to quit his job, but the businessman allegedly said he
would "kill" him if he were to leave.

Last week, tensions rose after Sultan reported the theft of 500,000
Pakistani rupees (almost US$ 6,000), and an official complaint (First
Information Report) was filed with police.

Although the Christian couple was not named as suspect, the
businessman offered them to drop the case if they converted to Islam
or "else that both would not see their children again."

The rest is known. Arshed Masih chose to remain loyal to his Christian
faith, and last Friday he was set on fire and his wife raped by

Federal Minority Minister Shahbaz Batti, a Catholic, has so far
refused to make any comment because he was “busy”. He did say however,
that he would issue a statement in the next few days.

Christian organisations in Rawalpindi and Lahore planned protests for today.

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