Report: Six Christians shot dead by Islamists in Pakistan
On broad daylight, the Islamic extremists allegedly gunned down six Christians and injured seven more in Quetta city, in the troubled Baluchistan province of Pakistan on 28 August, after they were threatened to “convert to Islam or die.”
Pakistan Christian Post (PCP) reported Monday that the Christians were targeted when Baluchistan province was observing the death anniversary of Baluch leader Akbar Bugti; and Islamic extremists targeted the peaceful Christians, it said.
According to PCP, on Friday, Aug. 28, at around 9 a.m., two gunmen on motorcycle opened discriminatory firing at Maryiam Labs which is located in front of a Civil Hospital killing Mushtaq Masih, Naveed John, Naymat Gill, Nadeem Akhtar and Suleman who were in laboratory while seven others were seriously injured and hospitalized. Two of them are in critical condition. PCP said the Labs is owned by Mushtaq Masih, a Christian, who is also killed in the attack.
The sources told PCP that Christians were receiving threats from Islamic militants to convert to Islam or die letters and calls from months which resulted in killing. The bodies of 3 martyred Christians were brought to Punjab in funerals were performed in Lahore and Khushpur. The province of Baluchistan bordering Afghanistan and Iran is facing unrest from years in wake of violence among Pakistan armed forces and Baluch liberation organizations.
The Baluch leaders blame Pakistan Army and Punjab province which dominates in population and holds control in Pakistan army to be responsible for poverty in Baluchistan and enjoying resources of Baluchistan since formation of Pakistan in 1947. There are also some reports saying that Baloch Liberation Alliance killed Christians who are Punjabis but settled in Baluchistan.
Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, Federal Minister for Minorities was enjoying an Iftar Party in Islamabad when Christians in Punjab were receiving dead bodies killed in Quetta, PCP said. He was delivering lecture on harmony among religious communities with Islamic leaders in month of Ramadan, it said. PCP has been very critical about Mr. Bhatti, a Christian himself but PCP said “he has not done enough for the Christian community.”
The report said, the Quetta killing of Christians have spread fear among Christians in Pakistan and violence against Christian was condemned during funerals in Punjab and Quetta.
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti, Chief of Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) has strongly condemned the killing of Christians in Quetta and urged Pakistan government to “ensure security for safety of life of 20 million Christians in Pakistan.” Pakistan is currently under pressure from the international community after a Muslim mob attacked Christians in various parts of the country.
Eight Christians were burnt to death when a Muslim mob attacked Christian homes and burned over 50 homes in Gojra city in Punjab province On Aug. 1. That came barely a few days after the attack on the Christian village of Korian on 29 July in the same province on a false allegation of desecrating the Qur’an; over 60 houses and two churches were destroyed, the authorities said.
The report said Quetta police have registered FIR against unknown people on killing and injuring Christians, no one has claimed the responsibility yet.