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Pakistani Christian beaten and tortured with hot iron rods for befriending Muslim woman

(Reuters/Fayaz Aziz)Pakistan's Christian community protest against satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which featured a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as the cover of its first edition since an attack by Islamist gunmen, in Peshawar January 18, 2015.

A 21-year-old Pakistani Christian in Punjab province has been allegedly beaten and burnt with hot iron rods after his friendship with a Muslim woman was discovered by her family.

Ansar Masih was reportedly kidnapped by the Muslim woman's father and two brothers when his mother sent him on an errand earlier this month.

Masih was stripped, beaten, and burned with hot iron rods by the three men before he was brought back to his house, Times of India reported.

According to the First Information Report (FIR), the accused told Masih's family that he was met with an accident.

Masih was then taken to Sheikhupura's District Headquarters Hospital where he was able to narrate the incident after he regained consciousness.

A purported image of Masih after the attack has been posted on Twitter by activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir, who claims to be in contact with the victim's family.

Nasir said that the family could not afford to take Masih from Sheikhupura to Lahore for proper medical treatment of his burns, but he was able to get some help.

"We are bringing him to Lahore today to get him admitted in Mayo. Family is very poor with no means to support treatment," the lawyer tweeted on Sunday.

Masih's friendship with the Muslim woman started two years ago, and their friendship grew over time. He often spoke with her on the phone, and he also visited her neighborhood to meet her, according to the FIR signed by Masih's sister.

When the woman's family discovered their friendship, her father, Mansoor, told Masih's father to keep his son away from his daughter. Mansoor allegedly warned them of dire consequences if Masih would not stay away.

The victim was reportedly abducted on April 1 when he went on an errand for his mother in the woman's neighborhood. The accused were taken into custody after the victim's sister filed a report with local police on April 5.

The victim is reportedly receiving treatment for his injuries and is now in stable condition.

Masih's father said that the woman's family, as well as the police, has pressured them to drop the complaint against the accused. The victim's family has been thrown out of the village over the incident, according to Nasir.

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