By BosNewsLife Asia Service
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)-- A Muslim employer allegedly beat two Christian siblings with an iron rod killing one and seriously injuring the other in Pakistan's Punjab province, an advocacy group said Thursday, April 29.
International Christian Concern said the Muslim owner of the ‘Five Star Switches’ company, allegedly killed Waqas Masih, 14, and seriously injured Zeeshan Masih, 12, after they extended their leave from work for one more day without his permission.
The suspect, who was publicly identified as Shafiq-ur-Rehman Khan, allegedly called the two Christians ‘choora’, a derogatory word frequently used to insult Christians in Pakistan, which literally means sanitary worker, ICC said.
The Christians were apparently also told that instead of making switches they should clean the streets and manure. Waqas Masih and Zeeshan Masih had been working as apprentices at the company for the last two years, ICC said.
Many impoverished children, including Christians, are forced to work in Pakistan as parents are often unable to provide for them, according to aid workers and rights groups.
Zeeshan Masih reportedly said that his brother Waqas suffered injuries over his head and spinal cord and died on the spot. Zeeshan was apparently taken to a clinic for medical treatment.
Khan has denied the allegations and reportedly said the victims had fallen from the roof of the factory. However family members of the victims have asked police to apprehend Khan for his alleged crimes.
Police reportedly confirmed that they have questions Khan, but said they have not yet charged him with murder.
ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, Jonathan Racho, said his group is "deeply saddened by the tragic death of Waqas and
injuries sustained by Zeeshan" and has urged Pakistani police to seriously investigate the crime and bring the perpetrators
"We call upon the international community to pay attention to this and other plights of Christians and other religious
minorities in Pakistan," Racho added. (With reporting by BosNewsLife's Jawad Mazhar in Pakistan).