Asia Bibi’s brother-in-law murdered in cold blood in Sheikhupura

Another religious minority man murdered in Pakistan, is it a case of hate or some personal matter?

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Younus Masih, the brother-in-law of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, was killed in Dao Ki Mallian, a village in Sheikhupura district in Punjab.

Younas had gone to his farm on Sunday morning and did not return that night. The next morning his body was discovered, and his throat had been slit. The father of two was married to Najma Bibi, the younger sister of Asia Bibi.

Asia Bibi was convicted of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammadﷺ, and a death sentence was handed down to her by a Pakistani court. She spent eight years in jail until she was released in 2018 by the Supreme Court, based on insufficient evidence, and is now currently living in exile in Canada.

It is believed that hailing from the same minority community and having family ties with Asia, Younus was killed in a Christophobic rivalry.

This is not the first time somebody associated with Asia Bibi has been murdered in cold blood. In 2011, Salman Taseer, the influential governor of Punjab was assassinated after he made headlines by appealing for the pardon of Asia Bibi.

A month after Taseer was killed, Religious Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian who spoke out against the blasphemy laws, was shot dead in Islamabad, underlining the threat faced by critics of the law.

What we know about the murder so far

Further investigation of Younus’ murder, however, points to a crime of passion, not religion, as it seems to be a consequence of an affair between Najma Bibi and another man.

The victim’s brother, George Masih, accused Najma Bibi of conspiring to kill her husband with the help of Irfan Dogar, a local Muslim. “She had illicit relations with Dogar. My brother often used to stop them. The accused [Dogar] murdered him at the behest of Bibi,” said Masih.

Punjab police spokesman Sohail Akhtar Sukhera informed that Sheikhupura police had arrested Najma Bibi and Irfan Dogar after they had confessed to the crime.

The victim’s body has been sent to a morgue for an autopsy, and further investigation is underway.

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