07/12/2019, 15.36
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An 11-year-old Christian child killed by his boss over a paltry sum of money in Faisalabad

by Shafique Khokhar

Badal Masih worked at a scrapyard owned by a Muslim named Ifran. His employer was infuriated when the child told him he would no longer work for him. He was a "very obedient child,” says his mother. They “took his life for no reason.”

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - An 11-year-old Christian boy was beaten to death by his Muslim employer, who is currently on the run. The murder took place yesterday in Faisalabad, Pakistan. Badal Masih worked as a scrapyard owned by Ifran alias Kalu.

“I am very poor, but I have faith in God,” says Badal’s mother, Shareefan Bibi. “I will fight for justice till my last breath.”

Balal lived in Rasheedabad, a district in Faisalabad. His father, Shahzad Masih, is a drug addict and does not work. The mother is the only breadwinner, employed as a domestic worker.

Given the family’s poverty, the boy was in his first year of formal schooling since his parents were unable to enroll him earlier.

To help the family, Balal decided to take a summer job at a scrapyard owned by a Muslim, not far from home, for 50-100 rupees (30 to 60 US cents) per day.

Two days ago, the boy asked the employer for a loan of 180 rupees (US$ 1.15) for some expenses necessary for the family.

Yesterday the boss began abusing the child for not paying back the money. At that point, Balal returned home, took 150 rupees from his mother, and returned to the scrapyard to repay the debt. Then he told the owner that he would no longer work for him. This infuriated the man who, with his brother Akram, brutally beat the boy, hitting him in the head with iron rods.

Balal died from the beating. His mother Shareefan, who had gone to the scrapyard because her son had not returned, saw the beating. His desperate cries attracted the attention of neighbours who called police.

The mother filed a complaint against the two men, who have fled. According to Shareefan, her son was also raped, but the autopsy did not find any signs of sexual violence.

Joel Amir Sohotra, a former Christian lawmaker, spoke to AsiaNews about the case. "I strongly condemn this inhuman act of extreme torture and alleged rape of a child,” he said.

“This is the sick mindset of a cruel society that does not see minorities and the poor as human beings and so tortures them if they refuse to obey because they think that no one will stand against them over these poor creatures.”

“Pedophiles,” he believes, “are ruining Pakistan's image in the world. I call upon the government to take stern actions against the culprits and bring them to justice. They must be punished in accordance with the law."

Speaking about Balal, the mother remembers him “a very obedient child. He wanted to earn something to support me and the family. These cruel owners took his life for no reason.”

"My tears can only be wiped away if the culprits are punished harshly and pushed behind bars for the rest of their lives for the sin they committed against my innocent child.”

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