Muslim gunmen open fire on church and Christians’ homes in Pakistan
A group of heavily armed Muslim men fired bullets indiscriminately at a church and Christians' homes, wounding at least four Christians, including a six-month pregnant woman, in Pakistan’s Lahore city, according to a recent report.
Asif Masih, one of the wounded Christian residents, was quoted as saying that he heard shouts followed by bursts of gunfire from fully automatic assault rifles after he returned home from work that afternoon.
“When I was telling my kids to get inside, I saw a group of heavily armed men firing indiscriminately at a church located on the street,” he said. “They then trained their weapons on the homes of neighboring Christians and fired volleys of bullets at them.” The gunmen saw him looking and opened fire on him, wounding him in both thighs.
“I barely managed to drag myself into my house and locked the gate, but they did not stop firing,” Masih said. “I could hear them shouting that they would not spare Christians living in the area and would also burn down our church.” The gunmen also wounded three women, identified as Nirma Bibi, Maria Kashif and Samina.
“One of the injured women is six months pregnant,” Masih said. “She was hit in the leg by one of the several bullets fired at their gate, but fortunately her family members were able to secure her inside.” The police complaint claims that the firing arose out of a dispute between a Christian, Asghar Masih and Dogar.
“Ask them why Dogar and his accomplices opened fire on the homes of Christians and injured innocent people like us if they had just a personal dispute with an individual?” Dogar was quoted as saying. “The police have been protecting the accused since day one because they are Muslims, and we are poor Christians.” Attorney Javed Gill, a senior leader of the Christian Lawyers Association of Pakistan, said there were conflicting reports about the motive for the firing.
“Several residents have claimed that the accused were opposed to the presence of a church in the locality and had been pressuring them to stop worship there, while some are saying that the incident was an outcome of a dispute over a girl,” Gill was quoted as saying. “Nonetheless, even if it was a dispute between two people, how can anyone justify the targeting of the entire Christian neighborhood with automatic weapons?”
Muhammad Azeem, the in-charge of the Sherakot Police Station, was quoted as saying that three men had been arrested and raids were being conducted to arrest the other accused, but he refused to answer questions about the delay.