A 13-year-old Pakistani Christian boy was sent out of his classroom for turning off a tap that had been left running.
Fourth grader student Sharjeel was expelled from his class on 16 October 2018 because it was believed that by touching the tap he had tainted the water and therefore he should be punished.
Head teacher Nusrat Shaheen, of Government Boys Primary School, Dhok Fatah, District Attock, beat and abused him, before chasing him out of the school saying Christians are supposed to clean drains and not be educated.
She further asked the child to bring his mother to fall at her feet. When Sharjeel’s mother attended the school two days later, the principal swore at her and further said the school was meant for Muslims and there was no place for infidel Christians.
She also threatened that she would have Sharjeel’s mother arrested under false allegations as her brother worked for the police.
According to his mother, Sharjeel is often made to sit outside of the classroom for hours for no reason other than being a Christian. Most of the pupils, influenced by staff, do not play or talk to him.
The case has been highlighted by the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), an interdenominational organisation working for Christians who are being persecuted because of their faith in Pakistan.
Nasir Saeed, Director of CLAAS-UK, said this is not an isolated case but Christian students have to face such treatment every day.
He said: ‘It is not possible for the poor Christian parents to send their children to private school. The first choice for Christian parent for their children is a missionary school, but if there is no Christian missionary school then parents have no option but to send their child to the government or nearby Muslim school where Muslim teachers treat non-Muslim children like aliens.’
Almost half of the population of Pakistan is illiterate and therefore education is very important. But unfortunately, there are not enough schools and no compulsory primary education policy in place.
Child labour is very common because of poverty, and instead of going to school many children work on the brick kilns, in workshops, factories and as domestic servants, where they are often abused.