Christian man murdered by mob despite police presence

A 25-year-old Christian man was killed by a mob in Lahore, Pakistan, on Monday 14th February 2021 after police were too slow to react to reports of violence. 


At least 150 people, some of them brandishing weapons, set upon Pervez Masih, a married game shop owner, in the Factory Area of the city. 


The police were called to the scene but failed to put a stop to the violence. Masih died later in hospital from head wounds after being hit with bricks by the mob. 


His death came a day after a scuffle broke out between local Muslims and Christians on Sunday night, leaving one man injured. 


The Christian community fears the attack on Masih was carried out in revenge after they reported the scuffle to the police. 


Masih’s family registered a First Information Report after his death and police arrested one suspect. 


It was reported that police failed to register the FIR against the culprits on time because some of them were influential Muslims.  


Christian lawyer Javaid Gill said the police must bear some responsibility for Masih’s death because Christians already went to them after Sunday night’s violence pleading for protection. 


He said that Masih’s death could have been prevented if the police had acted at that time. Instead, officers didn’t take the requests for protection seriously and did not attend the scene of Sunday night’s scuffle. 


Masih’s sisters said that some of those responsible for his death used to come to their brother’s game shop and threaten him. 


Samson Salamat, the chairman of Rawadari Tehreek, a social movement promoting religious tolerance, also held the police responsible for Masih’s death because they were present at the scene when it happened and failed to protect him from the mob.


He added that if the Chief Minister of Punjab, the head of the Punjab Police and the Human Rights Minister of Punjab cannot bring justice for Masih’s family, they should step down. 


“Today the culprits gave a message to Christians of Pakistan that we are nothing. They can kill us any time, even in the presence of police,” he said.