Christian boy beaten to death by Muslim students in school in Pakistan
London: September 2, 2017. (PCP) A Christian teenager who was highly academic despite years of institutional peer bullying and discrimination was killed by Muslim pupils whilst in a classroom environment in Vehari District in the Punjab.
Against all the odds Sharoon Masih gained the highest scores at his former school named Chack 461 EB, eponymous with its geographical location. So convinced were teachers that Sharoon would be a successful individual that they challenged the parents not to put him to work but to take him through higher education. His father Elyab Masih (35 yrs) saved some money from the work he undertakes as a labourer on a brick kiln and paid for the admission for Sharoon to join 'MC Model Boys Government High School Burewala and District Vehari'.
Sharoon was isolated from the very first day he joined the new school as he was the only Christian within his form. His parents told BPCA officer Mehwish Bhatti that he suffered years abuse from the very first day. Sharoon's mother Riaz Bibi (30 yrs) said he was warned not to mix with other Muslims at school. One boy is believed to have said 'You're a Christian don't dare sit with us if you want to live'. Many boys called Sharoon a 'chura' which is a very derogatory term against Christians. Often attempts were made to convert him to Islam, however, Sharoon never lost his faith to the chagrin of the Muslim children around him exacerbating his pariah status.
Though it must have been very difficult attending a school in which you enter as anathema, Sharoon used his segregation to study and was noticeably one of the top performers in his classroom, even within a few days. His academic prowess however, only added to the disdain for him felt by other pupils. Even then Haroon Masih could never expect the brutality that led to his death on 27th August 2017. Whilst in a classroom Sharoon was brutally beaten by nearly the whole class on only the fourth day at the school.
The violence was of such a ferocity that poor Sharoon died where he was in the classroom. Early pupil reports suggest that the teacher overseeing the classroom ignored the brutal mauling of a despised Christian. However the teacher has since claimed he was reading a newspaper and did not notice the attack. Later the Head Teacher stated that the attack occurred between classroom sessions and that one teacher was late on arrival allowing the incident to occur without notice.
All the reports state that as he was beaten a cacophony of insults were shouted at Sharoon in what must have been a nightmarish last moment of life for the Christian teenager. Questions are being asked about the inactivity of 'the classroom teacher' (if there) and the duty of care of other teachers in the vicinity to react to the noise emitted form the melee. Already the school has taken action against the Head Teacher who has been dismissed form his post.
Reports about the trigger factor for the brutal murder vary, however a main culprit Muhammad Ahmed Rana has already confessed and has been arrested and detained by local police. Sadly few other students feel any remorse for the killing of a Christian and no-one is willing to implicate the other murderers by naming them. The parents of Sharoon believe the wall of silence reveals the contempt that these students have for Christians and the low value placed on their lives.
Razia Bibi, said: "My son was a kind-hearted, hard-working and affable boy. He has always been loved by teachers and pupils alike and shared great sorrow that he was being targeted by students at his new school because of his faith.
"Sharoon and I cried every night as he described the daily torture he was subjected to. He only told me about the abuse and violence he was facing. He did not want to upset his father because he had such a caring heart for others.
"The evil boys that hated my child are now refusing to reveal who else was involved in his murder. Nevertheless one day God will have His judgement."
Though initially students claimed that Sharoon was killed for bumping into the foot of Muhammed Rana, Mr Rana is insisting as his defence (for what it's worth) that Sharoon smashed the screen on his smart phone, which spurred his anger. He has said other boy's were involved but so far has refused to implicate others.
Ambar Saroya, an officer for the BPCA met with the family and has been praying with them and counselling them. The family has expressed a desire to fight for justice for Sharoon and would like help with the cost of a solicitor. We estimate the cost for this due to the complexity of the case will be in the region of £2000. If you would like to help us assist this family then please donate by clicking (here). Sharoon was buried on 28th August 2017 and BPCA paid for the funeral.
The current First Incident Report (FIR) only names Muhammed Rana as the perpetrator for the murder yet both he and other puils have said other boys were involved. Moreover the head teacher and form teacher have both escaped any criminal conviction for negligence and manslaughter. If we can fund a solicitor, he would make a complaint to the Police that would then require them to write the particulars on an FIR that would initiate the process of a criminal prosecution. However, we would then have to continue the case to fruition or it will be dropped by the state, despite being a criminal investigation.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, shared his thoughts on this latest murder of a vulnerable Christian, he said: "Christians are despised and detested in Pakistan they are a constant target for persecution.
"This killing of a young Christian teenager at school, serves only to remind us that hatred towards non-Muslims is bred into the majority population at a young age, through cultural norms and a biased national curriculum.
"This young family will have to cope with the immense emotional pain of a totally avoidable incident. It is a poor indictment of MC Model Boys Government High School that a Christian could be targeted in this fashion. However by no means is such treatment an anomaly - it is an expectation that Christians will face abuse and violence during the years in the educational system.
"The Government of Pakistan failed to remove offensive texts within their national curriculum despite it having being highlighted by the United States Commission for International Freedom and potentially being a bar to future foreign aid.
"Such poor governance has inculcated generations of Pakistani citizens with false stereotypes that undermine the non-Muslims in their midst. This reciprocally has also made Muslims more susceptible to the hate ideology espoused by the many rogue Imams following hardline sects of Islam.
"Sharoon a bright and intelligent young boy who had a potentially good future has now been killed. Yet once again in Pakistan the debate is not on who is culpable but who is not culpable of a most heinous crime."
BPCA is calling for a reform of the educational system in Pakistan, for the removal of the bias within the national curriculum which openly demonizes and caricatures minorities. We are also calling for an end to the bullying and discrimination of minority children that leads otherwise brilliant minds to fail to reach their potential.