Christian couple burnt alive in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy

Lahore: In a gruesome incident, a Christian couple was today allegedly thrashed and burnt alive by a group of angry Muslims in Pakistan's Punjab province for reportedly desecrating a holy book.

The horrific crime was reported from the villages of Kot Radha Kishan of Kasur district, some 50 kilometres from here. A large number of police personnel were deployed in the villages to provide security to the minority community. Emaneul Sarfraz, a relative of the deceased couple, told PTI that his cousins - Shahzad Masih, 35, and his wife Shamah, 31, - had been working in the kiln of Muhammad Yousuf Gujjar for sometime near Chak (village) 59.

"The couple along with their four children wanted to leave the kiln as Yousuf was not paying their remuneration. He demanded Rs 5,00,000 from them, if they wanted to quit. "Two days ago, after an exchange of words Yousuf locked the couple along with their children in a room," Emaneul said.

He further said that an announcement was made today from two mosques of Chak 59 that Shahzad Masih and his wife had committed blasphemy by burning the pages of Quran. "A large number of Muslims led by area clerics reached thekiln and dragged the couple out of the room after breaking into it.

They first tortured them and then threw them in the kiln. No one from the crowd listened to the couple, who were pleading that they were innocent as Yousuf had levelled false allegation of blasphemy against them to settle money dispute," Emanuel said adding, "Thank God they did not burn the couple's children".

He alleged that police from the nearby post had reached there on time but did not intervene seeing the charged mob. Human Liberation Commission Pakistan Chairman Aslam Sahotra said he visited the district headquarters hospital Kasur and saw the remains of couple. "It was all ashes and some bones of the couple which is left to bury," he said.

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