Pakistani Christian youth perishes as the police beats him to death after victim’s uncle refused to pay the extortion money. On May 29, Waqas Masih, 24 was viciously beaten by the policemen, the youth could not survive and succumbed to the injuries. The horrific incident unfolded in Gujrat District.
Waqas Masih’s mother Khalida Bibi narrated the incident to Morning Star news saying: “Around 6 p.m., I was informed that three policemen had beaten my son to death,” Khalida Bibi, a sweeper at a hospital, told Morning Star News. “The police are now mounting pressure on us to ‘reconcile’ with their accused colleagues. They were initially reluctant to even arrest the accused, but eventually they had to take them into custody when we threatened to launch protests.”
Saleem Masih is maternal uncle of Waqas Masih. Waqas’s father died while his mother is employed a cleaner at a hospital. Saleem Masih had engaged Waqas and few other relatives to help him with his new construction project at his residence. At around 5:15 pm, policemen identified as Shahbaz, Saqib and Shoaib stormed in the house of Saleem Masih.
Saleem’s son Emmanuel Saleem was sitting in the courtyard of his house when the three policemen stormed in. “We asked them what they wanted, to which they said that they had information that we are drug peddlers and that they had raided the house to recover the narcotics,” he said. The three policemen are notoriously famous in the area for blackmailing local poor people.
“We are poor Christians, but we earn our livelihood with honesty and integrity. We knew that the policemen were there for extorting money, but since we had done nothing wrong, my father chose to confront them rather than succumb to their blackmail.”
Seeing the worsening situation, Saleem Maish also started asking the policemen to leave his house and this resulted in a brawl. The three policemen started threatening the Christians to file false charges against them. Horror-struck Waqas ran outside the house in an attempt to escape from the policemen.
Emanuel Masih said that Waqas was panicked as a result of the brawl. “This must have panicked Waqas, who ran outside the house. The three cops ran after him, as did my other cousins, Qaiser and Dawood. The cops got hold of Waqas soon after and started hitting him mercilessly with punches, kicks and gun butts. Qaiser and Dawood tried to save Waqas from the police torture, but they were pushed back and warned not to intervene in the beating.”
After a while the three policemen arrived at Saleem’s house and told them to check on Waqas saying he was “feigning illness”. “We immediately rushed toward Waqas and saw him lying on the street, motionless,” Saleem Maish said, explaining that Waqas had already expired by the time he arrived.
Saleem Masih said that police officials were trying to pressurize the family to “pardon” the three accused policemen and give statements in their favor. “We have even been offered money, besides threats to withdraw the FIR [First Information Report], but we have decided to hold our ground,” he said. The three accused policemen were taken into custody, but the officials are bent on twisting the truth and stating that they raided Saleem’s house because they were informed that drug peddlers were present there.