Mudered Pakistani Couple Update: Motive of Mob could have been Financial not Religious

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The Pakistan Supreme Court has stepped in to the case of the Christian couple murdered by a mob and burnt in a brick kiln.

Shama Bibi and her husband, Shahbaz Masih, were accused of blasphemy and killed by villagers incited by local imams. It later emerged that the motive for the killing may have been financial rather than religious, as the couple, who were bonded labourers in a system that has been described as modern-day slavery, were alleged to have contracted a debt they could not pay.

Now the Supreme Court has directed the provincial government of Punjab to submit a report into the case. It also directed the federal government to submit a report on the implementation of the June 19 verdict of the Supreme Court regarding the protection of minorities’ rights.

The move was welcomed by the director of CLAAS-UK, which works for minorities’ rights in Pakistan. Nasir Saeed said that it was important to set an example and punish those who had been involved in the killing. “We cannot avoid future such incidents unless the government takes stringent measures to stop the growing hatred and punish those who have been involved in such crimes,” he said. “Unfortunately he government always been hesitant to take action and bring those responsible for church attacks, the burning of Christian towns and villages, and the killing and burning of Christians alive, to justice.”

Reports vary as to whether the couple were dead before their bodies were burnt, or whether they were burnt alive. An employee of human rights charity Release International who visited the village immediately after the murders said: “I was given a bag in my hand, and when I looked into it, I discovered that it was their bones. They were completely burnt. I was holding the hands of two Christians that had been burnt alive for their faith.”

He said he spent time with the family following the murder, but that for the first time in his life that he did not know how to pray. The couple’s brother was weeping and sobbing, while their grandmother “had no more tears to cry”, he said. “She was drained, there was complete sadness in her face.”

An unnamed Christian spoke to the village to urge that the situation would not cause hatred between Muslims and Christians. “We must have peace,” he said.

The Release International representative was asked to pray over the two coffins before the funeral, which was attended by both police and the local Muslim politician. “There was a really sombre feeling, I think a lot of the people were in shock,” he said. He added that the faith of the Christian community in Pakistan was “unbelievable…Read More

Source and Original Content by Christian Today

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