When Ishtiaq went to pay for his tea, the owner noticed that he was wearing a necklace with a cross and grabbed him, calling for his employees to bring anything available to beat him for violating a sign posted on the stall warning non-Muslims to declare their religion before being served. Ishtiaq had not noticed the warning sign before ordering his tea, as he ordered with a group of his fellow passengers.
The owner and 14 of his employees beat Ishtiaq with stones, iron rods and clubs, and stabbed him multiple times with kitchen knives as Ishtiaq pleaded for mercy.
The other bus passengers and other passers-by finally intervened and took Ishtiaq to the Rural Health Center in the village. There Ishtiaq died as a result of spinal, head, and chest injuries. The doctor who took Ishtiaq’s case said that Ishtiaq had excessive internal and external bleeding, a fractured skull, and brain injuries.
Makah Tea Stall is located on the Sukheki-Lahore highway and is owned by Mubarak Ali, a 42-year-old Muslim. A correspondent visited the tea stall and observed that a large red warning sign with a death’s head symbol was posted which read, “All non-Muslims should introduce their faith prior to ordering tea. This tea stall serves Muslims only.” The warning also threatened anyone who violated the rule with “dire consequences.”
A neighboring shopkeeper said on condition of anonymity that Ali is a fundamentalist Muslim and all his employees are former students of radical Muslim madrassas (seminaries). Ali kept separate sets of cooking-ware for Muslims and non-Muslims at his stall.
Ishtiaq’s family said that they immediately reported the incident to the police and filed a case against Ali. Though the police registered their case, no action has been taken to apprehend Ali or his employees.
When asked the Pindi Bhatian Saddar police station about the murder, the police chief said that investigations were underway and they are treating it as a faith-based murder by biased Muslims. When asked about Ali’s warning sign, police chief Muhammad Iftikhar Bajwa claimed that he could not take it down.
However, the constitution of Pakistan explicitly prohibits such discrimination, and the police could take strong action against the warning sign. But because the police are also Muslim, Ishtiaq’s father claims that they are being derelict in their duties to prosecute the murderers who are still freely operating the tea stall.