Less than a week after an 11-year old Christian girl was arrested for blasphemy in Pakistan, the mutilated body of an 11-year-old Christian boy has been found in the Punjab province.
The body, identified as that of Samuel Yaqoob, was found with its nose and lips cut off. Samuel\'s legs had been chopped off and the stomach organs removed.
It is reported that police officials who found the body had difficulty identifying it. With the help of Samuel\'s relatives, the police eventually identified the body because of a unique mark on the boy\'s forehead.
The boy, who lived in the Faisalabad area, was reported missing four days before his body was found during the religious holiday of Eid.
Although police officials are investigating the issue of blasphemy, it remains unclear whether Samuel\'s words or actions contributed to the murder.
The boy\'s background is subject to conflicting reports. While some suggest he was an orphan, others quote his mother as saying: \"We neither received any phone call for ransom nor were we told that Samuel had committed blasphemy.\"
Samuel\'s murder follows the detention of an 11-year-old girl, widely reported to have Downs syndrome, for allegedly burning the Koran.
The incident has ignited a debate on religious tolerance in the country and the strict laws against blasphemy. Under current law, the authorities can impose the death penalty for desecrating the Koran.