SARGODHA, Pakistan — Two Christian sanitation workers died Oct. 3 saving another Christian overcome by toxic gases in a sewer.
Faisal Masih and Nadeem Masih were ordered into a maintenance hole to rescue Michael Masih, but none of the workers were provided personal protective equipment, according to a report from the relief group Barnabas Fund. Michael Masih had no oxygen tank, the report states.
After rescuing Michael Masih from the maintenance hole, Faisal Masih and Nadeem Masih were swept away by a strong current before they could escape. Muhammad Farooq, the supervisor who ordered the men into the maintenance hole, called an emergency team, which refused to assist because touching Christians would make team members “ritually unclean,” says the report. Instead, a fourth Christian recovered the two bodies.
Michael Masih was hospitalized and faces long-term health problems, the report states.
Sargodha Metropolitan Corp. claims all precautionary measures were followed, but community leaders have charged Farooq and two other supervisors with causing death by neglect, the report says. Christians protested the corporation, holding up traffic seven hours.
Pakistan is No. 5 on Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.