A 13-year-old Pakistani Christian boy was sent out of his classroom for turning off a tap that had been left running.

On 16 October the fourth grade student, Sharjeel, was expelled from his class because it was believed that by touching the tap he had tainted the water and therefore he should be punished.

The matter was brought to the attention of the head teacher Nusrat Shaheen, of Government Boys Primary School, Dhok Fatah, District Attock, who became furious.

She not only abused him, used bigoted language against him and called pejoratively ‘Choora’ but brutally beaten him.

The head teacher also chased him out of school and said Christian people are supposed to clean drains and not be educated.

She further asked the child to bring his mother to fall at her feet. When Sharjeel’s mother attended the school two days later, the principal swore at her and further said the school was meant for Muslims and there was no place for infidel Christians.

She also threatened that she would have Sharjeel’s mother arrested under false allegations as her brother worked for the police.

According to his mother, Sharjeel is often made to sit outside of the classroom for hours for no reason other than being a Christian.

The majority of Muslim students do not play or talk to him under the influence of Muslim staff.
Nasir Saeed, Director of CLAAS-UK said this is not an isolated case but Christian students have to face such treatment every day.

He said: “It is not possible for the poor Christian parents to send their children to private school. The first choice a Christian parent for their children is a missionary school, but if there is no Christian missionary school then parents have no option but to send their child to the government or nearby Muslim school where Muslim teachers treat non-Muslim children like aliens.”

Almost half of the population of Pakistan is illiterate and therefore education is very important. But unfortunately, there are not enough schools and no compulsory primary education policy in place.

Child and forced labour is very common because of poverty, and instead of going to school many children work on the brick kilns, in workshops, factories and as a domestic servant, where they are often abused.

Mr Saeed said the government must take notice of this incident and should adopt a compulsory primary education policy. While Christian NGO’s and churches should make possible free or cheap education for Christian children.

The Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, has suspended the headteacher and furthermore, an inquiry has been launched by the District Education Officer.