|Family and friends gather round the body of Ishaq Masih.|
45-year-old Ishaq Masih, a resident of a village in the Okara district, near Lahore, was shot dead on July 27, his children say, by a man named Muhammad Luqman (alias Ranjha) who, accompanied by others, had illegally occupied Masih’s land.
Fearing the police would not follow “due process” as a minority Christian was involved, local Christians rushed to the scene.
They then refused to bury the body for three days (contrary to Pakistani practice of burial the next day) until police had agreed to register the murder, arrest two of the suspects and conduct an autopsy.
On July 29, police promised that they would arrest all other suspects (including Ranjha) within a week, but only if the Christians would bury Masih, and then disperse peacefully. The protesters agreed, and Catholic Father James Bahadur buried Masih that night.
Police, however failed to arrest prime suspect Ranjha by their self-imposed deadline of August 5, the outcome Bahadur and others had feared. (Meanwhile seven suspected accomplices were released on bail).