The home of a Christian family was set ablaze by a violent mob in the capital of Pakistan on Thursday (September 10th 2015). Muslim extremists tried to burn alive the Christian family who resided in the home in order to gain the land and property said Boota Masih, owner of the house. Despite witnesses to the attack and a written report having been submitted to the local police station, authorities are still refusing to register a First Incident Report (FIR).
A large group of men and two women arrived at Boota's house and started to bang on his door shouting for him to come out. When he got to the door he was surprised to see the number of people outside his door, the mob leader told him to vacate the house with his family or face severe consequences. The mob labelled him a trespasser in his own home. Boota explained how he felt at this point, he said:
"I was terror stricken, the mob was threatening to kill me and my family. They had weapons in their hands and started to brandish them before me. I thought they would kill all of us. I refused to leave my home - I had paid for it fairly and they had no right to ask me to leave."
The mob become violent and brutally beat him with iron rods and sticks. They then locked the family in a room and set the room on fire.
"I broke the door down using all my strength, desperate to live and to save my family" he said. "Soon other local Christians came to rescue us, they put out the flames and called the fire brigade".
Boota Masih, 38, purchased the small house of 2-1/2 marala from Ghulam Ali after paying 1 million Pak-rupees (£6200). The sale was made on the basis of an oral agreement in the presence of few witnesses. Boota got possession of the house and was living there with his wife Rubina and their six children. They had only been residing in the home a few months when this sudden attack took place and it is believed the ring leader was the wife of Ghulam Ali, the man who sold Boota the property.
Local Christians said that Boota has been living in the area for decades and has good repute in the eyes of the public. He earns his living in the fruit market and his wife works in a school. The local police officer Almas Investigation officer (IO) Informed us of an ongoing investigation. When asked about the registration of an FIR, he said that police will investigate the matter and then will register FIR if required.
We provided the family with some food packages to sustain them for one month before leaving, however they need a lot more help. The family are desperate for assistance with restoring their home and also seek help with solicitors fees, for the impending legal action the previous owners have threatened them with.
Since writing this story despite Boota's family reporting the arson attack on his home to local people, he was arrested and placed in jail, after the Muslim former owner of the house Ghulam Ali had an First Incident Report (FIR), registered against him for attacking the women who accompanied him whilst allegedly collecting rent. The BPCA would like to help this family and hope to raise the following funds at this initial phase;
1. Cost of surety bond to local court for release on bail £350
2. Renovation of house and replacement furniture £500
3. Fees for solicitor £200
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