A 15-year-old Pakistani Christian boy was beaten to death by police after refusing to convert to Islam.

Arslan Masih, from Sheikhupura, Punjab, was set upon by the officers in front of 60 students and a teacher who was beaten when he tried to intervene.

Arslan’s mother claims his Muslim classmates had been pressuring him to convert to Islam for some time, but he told them he was Christian and would remain so, leading to arguments breaking out, particularly with one student with a relative in the police.

On October 9, around six policemen stormed Arslan’s academy in Jabhran village in District Sheikhupura. They reportedly grabbed him and started beating him using their rifle butts, and punched and kicked him, torturing him until he died on the spot.

The policemen later took his dead body to a clinic where the doctor pronounced him dead.

But reports suggest that they later left the dead body on the street and fled from the scene.
Shortly after the incident, local political leaders arrived at Arslan’s house in order to offer condolences.

Arslan’s family, along with the Christian community is urging the Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to take notice of the incident, and take action against the perpetrators.

Nasir Saeed, Director CLAAS-UK, condemned the killing of Arslan and said that such incidents continue to occur because the Pakistani government has failed to control the growing extremism in the country.

He said: “Unfortunately such incidents are happening almost every day, especially in Punjab, but are hardly reported and do not reach the media. Police hardly take interest in such cases, in turn encouraging the perpetrators.

“It is a growing trend that children and adults are often asked to convert to Islam in their schools, colleges and mostly at their work places.

“No law exists in the country to prohibit them from making such invitations to non-Muslims who are often intimidated and harassed and often have to leave their jobs.”

“The Forced conversion of Hindu and Christian girls in Pakistan is a well-known issue to the world, but the government has failed to pass legislation to stop the forced conversion of non-Muslims to Islam.

“The Pakistani government must take this matter seriously and pass the necessary legislation to stop future such incidents. Religious minorities are already feeling insecure and fleeing the country.