Pakistan: Was an 18-year-old boy the latest victim of Muslim hostility to Christians?

The Voice Society representative Aneeqa Maria with Qaisar Masih's mother Rani Sardar.The Voice Society

A Christian boy in Pakistan has allegedly been hanged by Muslims who believed he was attached to a Muslim girl who lived opposite his brother's house.

A report in the Pakistan Christian Post cites an investigation from The Voice Society which concluded 18-year-old Qaisar Masih was killed by the girl's family in an attack led by her father, Mohammad Billa.

Previous reports said he had been murdered for resisting drug traffickers, while according to The Voice, local police were treating it as a case of suicide.

Qaisar's family attended the local Roman Catholic Church in Pir Mahal, around 300 kilometers from Lahore. A team from The Voice met the priest there, Fr John Joseph, and members of Qaisar's family.

According to The Voice, the family of Mehwish, the Muslim girl whom Qaisar wished to marry, had warned Qaisar not to have anything to do with her and threatened to kill him.

Qaisar's family denied allegations that he had killed himself. His sister Saira told The Voice's team that his neck was broken and there were marks of resistance on his body, and that he was hanged after being killed. She said: "My brother was innocent, he tried not to contact Mehwish but Mehwish said that she cannot live without him... We told her sisters to ask Mehwish to avoid my brother because her father is a criminal and he will kill my brother. But none of our efforts could save my brother."

Qaisar's mother Rani Sardar said: "We all know who killed my son, he was the youngest, he was the apple of my eye and they killed him brutally and hanged him in front of our house. I only demand justice. I want the accused to be hanged and punished."

The Voice spokeswoman Aneeqa Maria told Christian Today a report was being compiled and that the police's assumption of suicide would be challenged when it was completed.

Christians in Pakistan face systematic discrimination and frequently find themselves the target of intercommunal violence. Politicians and judges who have spoken up their favour have been targeted by extremists and risk assassination.