Thousands attend funeral of Pakistani boy set on fire because he was a Christian

Nauman Masih died in hospital, five days after the attack.British Pakistani Christian Association

Around 2,000 people attended the funeral yesterday of a 15-year-old Pakistani boy who was set on fire, allegedly because he said he was a Christian.

Nauman Masih was attacked by two men outside the tailor's shop where he was working in Lahore on Friday. He told police that they had approached him and asked him if he was a Christian, and when he said that he was, they beat him, poured Kerosene on him and set him on fire.

He died of his injuries in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Doctors had originally said that although 55 per cent of his body was burnt in the attack, they expected him to make a good recovery.

However yesterday he was taken for plastic surgery and afterwards told that he had a 50 per cent chance of survival, Mehwish Bhatti, Pakistan officer for the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), told Christian Today.

The funeral was held at the St Ignatius Catholic Church in Shera Kot, a district of Lahore, The Express Tribune reports. Father Samson Dilawar led the service, and a number of other Christian leaders also attended.

"Nouman was brave throughout his pain and spoke of forgiveness for his attackers. He dies a martyr and will no doubt be with the Lord today," BPCA chairman Wilson Chowdhry said in a statement yesterday. "Please pray for his family who have had to endure 5 days of extreme heartache and can expect little justice."

Nauman's father died when he was young, and his mother remarried. His uncle and aunt took him into their care, and Nauman referred to them as his parents.

His uncle, Nadeem Masih, told Bhatti that Nauman was "just like his son" and it was very hard to lose him. Bhatti said he was crying as he spoke on the phone yesterday.

The attackers were masked when the incident took place, making it unlikely that they will be caught.

Nadeem said that the authorities have shown little interest in pursuing the case, but Bhatti told Christian today that he would go to the police station after the funeral.

Enan, one of Nauman's friends, told the Express Tribune: "We request Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to ensure that Nauman Masih is given justice and the men who set him on fire are punished according to law."

The BPCA has set up a donation fund to help the family with the costs of the funeral and to provide them with bereavement counselling.