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Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 09:28 UK

Pakistani boy 'killed by teacher'

Pakistani madrasa students
A large number of children in Pakistani attend religious seminaries

A student of a religious seminary in Pakistan's Punjab province has died after he was punished by his teacher, police say.

Atif, seven, was hung upside down from a ceiling fan by Maulvi Ziauddin for not memorising his Koran lessons, his fellow students told the police.

Atif's condition deteriorated quickly and he died in the teacher's room. Maulvi Ziauddin has been arrested.

Human rights organisation say Pakistani children are often exposed to abuse.

Arrested

The students told the police in the town of Vehari that Atif was punished on Wednesday by Maulvi Ziauddin who left him hanging from the fan for some time.

The son of a farm labourer, Atif lived in the seminary with about 20 other students, including a cousin.

"When his cousin did not see Atif on Wednesday night or the next morning, he informed the family," a Vehari police official, Mohammad Afzal, told the BBC.

"Members of the family found Atif's body in Maulvi Ziauddin's room, but the cleric himself was missing," he said.

He was arrested from a nearby village later on Thursday.

The police said they would file formal charges after an autopsy report is issued by the local hospital.

In a report published in January, Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) - an organisation which monitors and compiles cases of child abuse and kidnapping - said children in Pakistan were increasingly exposed to abuse, kidnapping and violence.

The number of reported cases involving children has more than doubled from 617 in 2006 to 1,595 last year, the report said.

It blamed poor law enforcement and old social attitudes towards children's rights as some of the reasons for the problem.



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