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Family of slain Pakistani Christian youth paid blood money for dropping charges against murderers

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Family of Arslan Masih who was killed by a group of policemen has received the blood money for dropping charges against the murderers. Lawyer of victim’s family says this was a rare advancement in a case like this. He called this a “rare victory” as the Arslan’s family was compensated with more than the standard amount of restitution set by the government.

Pakistani Christian killed by police

In keeping with details, the murderers identified as Muhammad Imtiaz, Muhammad Rashid, Muhammad Arshad, Muhammad Tanveer, Robin Masih and Muhammad Iqbal have offered Arslan’s family three million Pakistani Rupees. This was done in order to secure court’s pardon under the concept of diyat (blood money) as prescribed by Islamic teachings. Each of the culprits had spent more than four months behind the bars. This diyat was accepted by a Sessions Court Judge AriF Mehmood Khan, on March 14 this year. After acceptance of diyat, the court acquitted all the six men indicted of Arslan’s murder.

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The Constitution of Pakistan under Section 319 of Pakistan’s Penal Code allows blood money saying: “Whoever commits qatl-i-khata [homicide by mistake] shall be liable to diyat.” Explaining the blood money system Khurram Shahzad Maan, Executive Director of the Organization for Legal Aid, told World Watch Monitor that every year the amount for diyat is revised by the government of Pakistan. “This year it is fixed at 1,935,594 Rupees , while the family was offered three million Pakistani rupees, which they have accepted,” he said.

“There is no case where police brutality led to a Christian’s death and the perpetrators were then punished. Even further, there have been many instances of brutality by the police against Christians but each time they got away with the crime with impunity. However, this has come as a rare victory for our lawyers, who ensured that justice would be provided to the family”, Sheheryar Gill a lawyer said expressing his views about the case.

Remarking about the acceptance of diyat deal, Arslan’s father Mushtaq Masih said that his family was poor and could not afford the cost of legally proceeding with the case. He said that apart from financial restrictions, he had little hope that justice would be served to the murderers.

On October 9, 2017, Arslan Masih student of class 8th was subjected to ghastly torture by police. Arslan Masih son of Mushtaq Masih was lynched by the police men in front of 60 students. The incident took place when Arslan Masih was at his academy located in Jabhran village in District Sheikhupura in Punjab province.

He was hooked by the police while he was at his academy, and was subjected to excruciating torture by the six police men. Purportedly, he died on the spot; policemen later took his dead body to a clinic where the doctor pronounced him dead. They left the dead body and fled from the scene.