Published: 16:00 GMT Standard Time - Monday 11 February 2013
Christian man killed in Pakistan after refusing to convert to Islam
Country/Region: South and East Asia, Pakistan
A Christian man in Pakistan suffered fatal gun-shot wounds in an attack believed to have been carried out because he resisted pressure from Muslim colleagues to convert to Islam.
|Quetta, the capital
of Baluchistan province
Younas Masih (55) died last Tuesday (5 February) following the shooting five days before. He was attacked in Baluchistan as he made his way home by a gunman who shot him five times. Younas was rushed to hospital in a critical condition; the bullets were removed, and he received treatment in intensive care before succumbing to his injuries.
Younas’ Muslim colleagues had been pressuring him to convert to Islam. Repeated threats and blackmail attempts had been made against him but he had remained firm in his faith.
On the day of the shooting, Younas’ co-workers made another attempt to persuade him to convert. A heated discussion ensued, with insults and threats issued.
Younas’ son tried to register the attack on his father with the police, but they refused to file a First Information Report, which launches a criminal investigation in Pakistan. The family has made repeated appeals for justice, which have been ignored. They feel abandoned by the authorities.
Christians are an extremely vulnerable minority in Pakistan, which is 95% Muslim. They suffer discrimination and persecution because of their faith, and rarely experience help from the authorities.
Speaking about the tragic death of Younas Masih, one church leader said that “the behaviour of the concerned authorities was even more devastating”, adding:
We demand protection for the lives and property of minorities in Pakistan. The authorities must ensure and safeguard the basic rights of minorities and protect them from hatred and violence.