in separate attack.
suspect two Muslim extremists shot a Christian to death Thursday in Punjab
Province shortly after the victim was granted bail in a “blasphemy” case – and
less than a week after Islamist militants killed four members of a Christian
family for their faith in the same province.
of Lahore, 22-year-old Latif Masih died after two men with pistols shot him to
death near his home. Inspector Rafique Ahmed said that Masih’s murder was likely
linked to the case against him for allegedly desecrating the Quran.
pages of the Quran in a case registered at Godhpur police station in June and
had spent five months in jail. He was released on bail on Nov. 3 after the
complainant in the case, Ijaz Ahmed, told the court that he was not sure that
Masih was guilty, police said.
the door of their house on Nov. 18 and asked him to accompany them.
that Masih was shot five times.
in the street, but no one tried to stop them,” she said.
the blasphemy charge. He said that Ahmed had filed the charge because he was
trying to take possession of his brother’s shop.
displayed a cross inside. Ijaz Ahmed is the son of the local Muslim cleric, and
he came to Latif`s shop and threw the cross out and demanded that he leave the
associates who were with him when he threw out the cross to kill his
June accusing Latif Masih of burning pages of the Quran and speaking against
Islam, he had ulterior motives.
arresting Latif Masih, Ahmed kept saying that he will ensure that no Christian
can live or buy a shop in Godhpur village.”
havoc wrought by Pakistan’s widely condemned blasphemy laws. Dr. Altaf Hasan,
chairman of the Human Rights Foundation-Pakistan, said both the judiciary and
the government were afraid of the laws – judges fear being attacked for
acquitting those accused of blasphemy, and government officials defend the laws
for the same reason.
him, and this hostility only ends with his death,” Hasan said. “Killing a
blasphemy accused is considered jihad.”
miles) from Lahore, police believe six militants belonging to the Islamist
terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba on Nov. 12 killed four family members
because of their Christian faith.
Multan police to register a First Information Report against six as yet unnamed
members of Lashkar-e-Taiba after the family members were found inside their
house in Mehmoodabad.
Shahista Iqbal Gill – 23-year-old Atif Iqbal Gill and 21-year-old Tehreem Iqbal
Gill – as well as her 25-year-old sister-in-law, identified only as Gulshan.
Another of Shahista Iqbal Gill’s children, 5-year-old Imran Iqbal Gill, later
succumbed to his wounds in the hospital.
wounds. Both he and his 5-year-old brother bore strangulation marks on their
area from Toba Tek Singh six months ago with their four children and
sister-in-law Gulshan, renting a house in Mehmoodabad colony close to Government
Islamia High School and attending the Pentecostal King of Kings Church in
Compass. “But when the staff and the children came to know that I am a
Christian, their behavior changed towards me. They even started discriminating
against my children at school. After three months, the staff started abusing
unresponsive. Some students from a madrassa (Islamic school) near
Mehmoodabad found out that a Christian family had moved to the area and began
said. “Around five or six young men came – they were wearing white dress and
green turbans – and they took me by my collar and asked me to leave town and
never come back.”
leave the area; Lashkar-e-Taiba extremists called her saying that no non-Muslims
were allowed to live there.
prior, she said, but when she complained about that and the threats, the school
administrator was deaf to her pleas. Pastor Dilshad Gill of King of Kings Church
told Compass that she and her family told him about the assault and the
threats, and he suggested she file a complaint with police. She feared doing so,
relatives. Her husband was living in Toba Tek Singh while recovering from a
broken leg following a car accident. The extremists came to her home and
attacked, shooting Atif and Tehreem and cutting the throats of Imran and
Gulshan, according to police. Imran was initially considered dead, but when
examined he still had a pulse, and he died in the hospital.
said. “As I came out, eight to 10 masked men wearing green turbans escaped in
two vehicles,” Toyota Hilux pickup trucks.
dispute, but after taking statements from the neighbors and examining Shahista
Iqbal Gill’s phone records, DCO Jadoon thought otherwise.
Lashkar-e-Taiba,” he said. “They had been threatening Shahista and her
Lashkar-e-Taiba, with their names undetermined until they issue a report in two
14 left Multan for their native town in Toba Tek Singh.