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Christian couple 'burned to death by Pakistani mob had legs broken to stop them fleeing

A pregnant Pakistani woman killed alongside her husband for alleged blasphemy was wrapped in cotton so she would set alight faster, relatives who witnessed the horrific attack revealed.

Shama Bibi, 24, and her husband Sajjad Maseeh, 27, also had their legs broken so they could not flee the mob that locked them inside a brick-making factory before their murder.

The couple were surrounded by crowd of at least 1,200 and thrown on top of a brick kiln where they were burned alive, witnesses said.

Police and locals pictured at the site of their death. The couple's relatives have claimed the two were detained by their boss before they were killed because he feared they would try and flee their debts

 The site of the brick kiln where the Christian couple were murdered yesterday
The site of the brick kiln where the Christian couple were murdered yesterday

They picked them up by their arms and legs and held them over the brick furnace until their clothes caught fire,' family spokesman Javed Maseeh told NBC News. 'And then they threw them inside the furnace.'

He said Bibi, a mother of four who was four months pregnant, was wearing clothing that did not initially catch fire, so the mob removed her from over the kiln and wrapped her up in cotton to make sure the the material would burn faster.

The killings were sparked by the mob's belief the couple had desecrated a copy of the Koran. By the time the attack was over, only charred bones and the couple's discarded shoes remained.

'The bones are still being found,' Javed Maseeh told NBC. 'Friends keep on collecting them and bringing them to us in batches of two or three. We will bury these bones when we have enough for the bodies. But we will not find all of them, I'm sure.'

The gruesome incident took place yesterday in the tiny hamlet of Chak 59 near Kot Radha Kishan town, 60 kilometres southwest of Lahore.

About 1,500 people gathered from nearby villages after being stoked up by local clerics who announced the couple had committed blasphemy over the loudspeakers of their mosques.

'They started beating the couple with sticks and bricks chanting slogans of 'We will lay down our lives for the honour of the prophet' and then tore off their clothes.

'The couple were screaming, begging for mercy and saying they have not committed any sin.

'The mob dragged them for around 20 yards and laid them on top of the brick kiln oven and kept them there till they were burnt,' he added.

It was not clear whether they were already dead or burnt alive.

Last year, there were 39 blasphemy registered against a total of 359 people, according to the HRCP.

Attacks such as the one in Kot Radhakishan are growingly worryingly common, says Zohra Yusuf, chairperson of the HRCP.


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