Pakistani Christians call for probe into case of prisoner allegedly tortured to death for faith

The Pakistani Christian community is now calling for an investigation into the death of a 38-year-old Christian who was allegedly offered freedom in exchange for renouncing his faith in Jesus Christ but was tortured and hanged for refusing to do so.

(REUTERS / Mohsin Raza)Riot police use tear gas to disperse protesters from the Christian community during clashes in Lahore March 16, 2015.

Indaryas Ghulam was one of the 42 Christians arrested over the lynching of two Muslims suspected of being part of twin church attacks in Youhanabad that was perpetrated by the Taliban. The said attacks on March 15, 2015 killed at least 19 people and injured more than 70 others, Bos News Life detailed.

Christians said Ghulam could have lived but he decided to stand up for his faith even though he faced death. Legal Evangelical Association Development director Sardar Mushtaq Gill also told Bos News about the possibility that the man was tortured to death by authorities, noting that there was no appeal hearing against the death sentence by hanging which was handed to him.

"When the wife saw his dead body, she was shocked at the number of bruises and cuts,"said Gill, who added that it was "a clear indication of the brutality faced by Indarayas from police and prison staff."

Aside from that, Ghulam had contracted tuberculosis three months before he was arrested in March 2015. Gill said the Christian prisoner was never given access to proper health care while in jail. Officials merely said he died of poor health.

Ghulam's death on Aug. 13 happened just a day before Pakistan celebrated its Independence Day. In light of what happened, British Pakistani Christian Association chairman Wilson Chowdhry said Christians find it hard to celebrate the occasion because of their "second-class status" in their own country, Pakistan Christian Post reported.

In his statement, Chowdhry hailed Ghulam as a "martyr" whose death should push people to fight for justice and lamented Western nations' lack of concern over the plight of persecuted Christians and religious minorities in Pakistan. He said these countries will probably realize the difficulties that Pakistani Christians are facing only when they are lynched.