A Christian boy of only 14 years was murdered 8th May 2016 for wasting horse food and then hung from the rafters of a barn where he was employed, to create the impression of a suicide.
Suleman Hadayat Masih a resident of Chehl Kalan village in Gujaranwala was a bright, hardworking but illiterate youth, with a talent for horses. His ability to tame and tend for horses was recognized early and he was put to work at a local stables, owned by Muslim brothers, Aurangzaib Bashir, Humayun Bashir and Jahangir Bashir. Suleman’s father Hadayat Masih had hoped that with some experience one day the family could breed their own horses and own a stable.
Image of Suleman’s funeral.
Hadayat Masih, formerly worked as a sweeper for the Pakistani army at Azad Kashmir, however poor health ended his employment. The family were too poor to pay for an education for their children and Suleman became the main breadwinner. As part of his role Suleman was taken into the care of the Muslim brothers and was required to reside within the stables in a makeshift lodging.
Around a week before Suleman was killed he failed to appear to work and went missing from the stable lodgings he had been provided with. Aurangzaib visited Hadayat to enquire about the whereabouts of Suleman and though the father did not know where his son had gone, he provided some possible addresses of friends and relatives.
On 7th may Aurangzaib revisited Hadayat and told him that he suspected that Suleman was in a place called Alam Chowk, after some information had been shared by locals. The father travelled with Aurangzaib and found Suleman at the location where he had been spotted. Suleman travelled home with father Hadayat and Aurangzaib apologized and returned to work. Hadayat noticed that Suleman seemed fragile and withdrawn, however it is believed that because Aurangzaib was present that Suleman may not have been forthcoming about the brutality he was being subjected too.
While travelling past the stables at which Suleman usually worked on 8th May 2016, Hadayat heard some loud screaming and saw the three Bashir brothers fleeing from the stables. When he arrived at the stables he saw that Suleman was hanging from a rope in a position that he could never have put himself in. He called the local Police who responded immediately and as part of their investigations took the body of Suleman away for a post mortem examination, including investigations into alleged sodomy.
Police investigations uncovered through witnesses that the boy had been brutally beaten for wasting some hay only days after returning to work after running away. He had been slapped so hard at one point that his head had slammed into the ground, causing his death.
The three Bashir brothers were arrested along with another Muslim man Khurram Baigh who was also accused of being complicit in the crime. To date Aurangzaib and Khurram remain in police custody, whilst brothers Humayun and Jahanghir have been released on bail.
Hadayat Masih, father of Suleman, said:
“I am heartbroken, our poverty meant that we had to place our son under the auspices of these cruel brothers who have taken his life away for just a few bits of hay? This cruel treatment of my son must be punished. He was a good hardworking boy who only sought to help us out of our financial dilemma.”
“We have received several threats from the landlords asking us to drop the charges. They have also offered us a large compensatory offer, but I am determined to seek justice for my boy. He deserves at least this from me, I would give my life to have hime back.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“The tragic death of a young teenager is a deeply saddening account made more harrowing by the attempts to hide the murder by faking a suicide. Sadly I believe the creaking legal system of Pakistan that is geared to undermine minorities will inevitably allow the perpetrators of this gruesome crime to escape justice – a practice of impunity that has only served to increase attacks on Christians.”
“The fact that two men involved in the disguising this murder as a suicide have been freed on bail shows how the legal system of Pakistan is simply not fit for purpose. I fear for the family of Suleman who in seeking justice are becoming targets for persecution and attempts will be made to thwart justice in this way. Pakistan’s police force have a proven penchant for failure, cover-ups and are known to despise Christians, hopes for justice are extremely bleak”
Our officer Naveed Aziz Masih, has already met with the family and has compensated them for the costs of the funeral of Suleman. We are monitoring the safety of the family and will provide a rescue home away from any violence if necessary. Our work in helping Christian victims in Pakistan is only possible due to the kind donations from our many supporters. If your would like to contribute to our work please use this link (click here)
On the right is father of Suleman, Hadayat Masih.
Church Leaders and the family meet with Naveed Aziz
Khadim Masih the uncle of Suleman is a local councilor and is pressing for justice.