Herald | June 12, 2020
On June 7, police in the city of Peshawar in the Khybar Pakhtunkhawa province arrested the sons of a man accused of shooting two members of the Christian family after they purchased a home in late May in the Sawati Phatak colony, Asia News reports.
The alleged perpetrator, Salman Khan, is still at large.
After Khan found out that his new neighbors were Christian, Khan told the family they had to leave the neighborhood immediately because Christians are seen as the enemies of Islam.
What followed was days of alleged harassment against Nadeem Joseph and his family.
The family was said to have been threatened with consequences if they did not leave their new home.
Khan is accused of giving the family 24-hour ultimatum on June 7. But Joseph refused to leave his home. He tried to call the police once he noticed that Khan and his sons had returned with weapons.
That’s when Joseph was shot in the stomach by his attackers who also shot his mother-in-law in the shoulder.
Joseph and his mother-in-law were taken to a nearby hospital and their injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.
Joseph recorded a video message from his hospital bed, according to International Christian Concern, a U.S.-based Christian persecution watchdog group.
From there, Joseph said that at one point, he was told that his new neighborhood was “meant for Muslim residents only” and that “Christians and Jews are the opponents of Muslims.”
Christian activist Khalid Shahzad, who is in touch with the family, told Asia News that the shooting is an example of the religious intolerance found in Pakistan.
“The main offender is still at large,” Shahzad was quoted as saying in an article Monday. “Law enforcement agencies must do everything possible to capture him and bring him to justice.”
Open Doors USA ranks Pakistan as the fifth-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution and notes that Christians are generally “regarded as second-class citizens.”
There are various forms of Christian persecution in Pakistan, including laws that criminalize blasphemy that are often abused by Muslims to take advantage of religious minorities.—Matters India