According to local sources, on March 9, a Christian of Shamsabad, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, was burnt alive for refusing to convert to Islam. Arshed Masih and his family of five lived in the servant quarters of Sheikh Mohammad Sultan - a Muslim businessman of Rawalpindi. Arshed worked as a driver for the sheikh since 2005 while his wife was working as a maid. Their three children are students. His eldest daughter Mary is 12 years old, son Nasir Masih is 10 years old and the youngest daughter Neha is 7 years old.
In January, local religious leaders along with Sheikh Sultan demanded that Arshed convert to Islam along with his whole family. After Arshed talked to his wife about this, she became concerned and asked him to quit his job. After 10 days, the same group came again and asked him to convert or he would have to face dire consequences.
When Arshed told the sheikh that he was prepared to quit, the sheikh became furious and threatened to have him killed. Arshed Masih informed his family and friends about the threat and Christian religious leaders tried to intervene. The sheikh said he will not let Arshed and his family leave his house.
On March 14, Shiekh Sultan`s house was allegedly burglarized and he filed a case of theft against Arshed’s wife demanding restitution in the amount of 500,000 Rupees (approximately $6,000). Arshed was also assaulted by the police. However, the police report or FIR ( First Information Report) of the theft did not name Arshed. On March 16, the sheikh offered conversion to Islam to Arshed and his wife in exchange for desisting in the case. Even so, the sheikh said that to the contrary they would not see their children again. When Arshed refused, he burnt alive and his wife raped.
Even while Arshed suffered severe burns over 80 percent of his body, he remains alive at the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, as is his wife. The local police superintendent has been notified, but no arrests have yet been made. Arshed’s children witnessed their mother’s rape and father’s torture and are currently homeless.