05/27/2020, 13.20
PAKISTAN
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Younas Masih, Asia Bibi’s brother-in-law, killed in Sheikhupura

by Shafique Khokhar

The investigation points to a crime of passion, not religion, consequence of an affair between Najma Bibi and a Muslim friend.

Sheikhupura (AsiaNews) – Younas Masih, 50, father of two children and Asia Bibi’s brother-in-law (pictured), was found dead on Monday in fields near Sheikhupura, Punjab.

Younas, a poor peasant, worked the land of a Muslim owner, Mohammad Zulfiqar Ali, and took care of his livestock.

On Sunday morning, he went to the farm to work, but when he did not return home in the evening, his brother George and others began to look for him.

On Monday morning, around 9 am, they found his lifeless body in a field and immediately alerted the police.

The body was taken to hospital for a post-mortem, which revealed that Younas had had his throat cut.

George Masih filed a First Information Report (FIR) at the local police station against Najma Bibi, Younas’s wife, and her friend, Irfan alias Baggu, a Muslim man.

George Masih said Najma and Ifran were having an affair. Younas was very upset about this and took them to task. Still, they continued to see each regularly and did not care about Younas’s anger. For George, both are behind the murder of his innocent brother.

Police took Najma Bibi and Ifran into custody and started their investigation into the case. The police station in charge of the investigation said that religion is not a motive for this murder and that both accused will be brought to court very soon once their investigation completed.

Samson Salamat, chairman of Rwadari Tehreek, told AsiaNews that “preliminary findings and the police investigation clearly show that Younas Masih’s murder is unrelated to the case of blasphemy victim Asia Bibi and was not a religious vendetta but rather about the affair.”

“Younas Masih's wife and the other accused are already in police custody. I was personally present and spoke to Younas Masih's family,” Salamat said.

“Incidents of discrimination and religious violence do take place, but not every issue is a religious problem,” Salamat explained. For this reason, “Rwadari Tehreek humbly calls on everyone to be realistic and not try to make every issue a religious problem, because this could damage interfaith coexistence and the struggle for minority rights. The victim is Asia Bibi's sister-in-law and the accused of murder, Najma Bibi, is Asia Bibi's own sister.”

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