Pakistani Christian arrested after his home was set ablaze
A Pakistani Christian has been arrested after having his home torched by a violent mob, an advocacy group has reported.
Boota Masih recently bought the home he had been renting from a local Muslim man in Islamabad, Pakistan. The sale was made on the basis of an oral agreement in the presence of witnesses but Ghulam Ali, the previous owner, has since denied the sale took place, the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) said.
A violent mob then torched the Christian family's home in an attempt to burn them alive, saying they were trespassing after the property dispute. The group demanded Masih's family give up their home and belongings.
"I was terror stricken, the mob was threatening to kill me and my family," Masih told the BPCA.
"They had weapons in their hands and started to brandish them before me. I thought they would kill all of us. I refused to leave my home – I had paid for it fairly and they had no right to ask me to leave."
The group became violent and brutally beat him with iron rods and sticks, a report from BPCA said. They then locked the family in a room and set the room on fire.
With the help of other Christians, Masih put the fire out and his family were rescued, unhurt.
"I broke the door down using all my strength, desperate to live and to save my family" he said. "Soon other local Christians came to rescue us, they put out the flames and called the fire brigade."
Despite the attack being reported, authorities have refuse to register the incident and Masih himself has since been arrested for allegedly attacking a woman who came to collect rent, even though he had already bought the house legitimately.
The chairman of BPCA, Wilson Chowdhry, spoke to Christian Today and denied the allegations against Masih were true. However, it is likely Masih will be convicted because the testimony of a Muslim witness is taken above that of a Christian, Chowdhry said.
BPCA are hoping to pay for Masih's bail and support his family with paying rent, if they can raise the funds.