04/20/2024, 14.13
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Lahore, forced conversions: attempted poisoning of a 13-year-old Christian

by Shafique Khokhar

Saim had left home to get a haircut when a security guard, who had noticed a cross necklace on the boy, started to ask him to recite Islamic prayers. The young man, after refusing, was forced to ingest a harmful substance.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - Yet another attempt at forced conversion has occurred in Pakistan against a 13-year-old Christian boy, forced to ingest a toxic substance after refusing to embrace Islam.

The episode occurred in the city of Lahore on April 13: Saim had left home to go get a haircut, but was stopped by a Muslim security guard who noticed that the boy had a cross around his neck. The guard, named Qadar Khan, snatched the necklace and forced Saim to recite an Islamic prayer, but the boy refused, saying he was Christian. The man then forced Saim to ingest a toxic substance in an attempt to poison him.

It was the young man's parents who found their son's body unconscious after several hours that Saim was missing from home. The father, Liyaqat Randhava, went to the police but said he had received unfair treatment.

The officers registered the complaint only after several insistences and a copy of the document was not released to Saim's family, he said. Furthermore, several parts of the story were not included in the complaint (also called first information report or FIR).

Joseph Johnson, president of Voice for Justice, expressed deep concern about the growing incidents of forced religious conversions in Pakistan and condemned what happened to Saim, adding that the police were showing extreme negligence in the case. “By failing to include crucial details in the FIR, the police subjected Saim and his family to further abuse,” Johnson said, calling for government intervention in an investigation.

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