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    » 02/04/2013, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Christian man mortally wounded in Baluchistan for refusing to convert to Islam

    Jibran Khan

    Younas Masih, 55, died this afternoon after days in agony. Last Thursday, a gunman shot him five times as he made his way home from work. Recently, his co-workers had tried to force him to embrace Islam. Police has refused so far to open an investigation into his murder.

    Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Younas Masih died this afternoon after he was shot five times last Thursday as he made his way home. An unknown gunman fired at the 55-year-old Christian man. From the beginning, his conditions appeared critical. It is believed he was attacked after he resisted pressures from co-workers to convert to Islam.

    Masih worked for a company in Chaman. His friends describe him as honest and reliable. Strong in his Christian faith, he was regularly involved in his local parish.

    Speaking anonymously, local sources told AsiaNews that Muslim co-workers had began pressuring him to convert, which he rejected, standing firm in his beliefs in Christ.

    Despite the fact that people were talking behind his back and had made repeated threats against him, he continued to work for the same company and stood firm against pressures and attempts at blackmail.

    Last Thursday, his co-workers tried again, asking him to convert. A heated discussion followed that included insults and threats. When he went home Masih was attacked by a gunman who fired five bullets into him.

    After he was rushed to a hospital, his conditions appeared critical from the start. Doctors removed the bullets and had him moved into the intensive care unit where he eventually died.

    His son tried to file a First Information Report (FIR) with local police who refused to register his complaint. Despite repeated attempts, they refused to heed the family's pleas for justice. Devastated by his death, the family now feels abandoned by the authorities.

    Groups like the Masihi Foundation and Life for All quickly condemned the murder. Acting on behalf of the family, they expressed their dismay at the lack of action by police and local authorities,.

    For Fr James Chand, a priest in Quetta, killing a man for his faith is a "tragedy that that breaks one's heart."

    Speaking to AsiaNews, he confirmed that Younas Masih had been repeatedly threatened, adding that "the behaviour of the concerned authorities was even more devastating."

    "We demand protection for the lives and property of minorities in Pakistan," the clergyman said. "The authorities must ensure and safeguard the basic rights of minorities and protect them from hatred and violence."

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    See also

    12/05/2011 PAKISTAN
    Punjab: Christian student nurse forced to convert to marry Muslim man
    Farah Hatim, 24, was kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam. Although her family filed n abduction report, local police and politicians are protecting the culprits. The victim’s lawyer and a human rights activist also point to the legal flaws in the young woman’s alleged statement of conversion presented in court. For a Catholic priest, the rising number of anti-Christian incidents is “alarming”.

    09/04/2005 PAKISTAN
    Alleged Easter attackers arrested in Lahore


    30/05/2006 PAKISTAN
    Around 600 people a year are forcely converted to Islam

    A meeting about the practice was organized by the Minority Rights Commission of Pakistan. The courts were accused of being too dependent on their Islamic environment. A Catholic bishop said the feudal mentality and the economy also play a part.



    08/04/2013 PAKISTAN
    Punjab, convert to Islam or die: The 20 year long nightmare of a Christian family
    Since the late 1980s Sadiq Masih Zafar and his family have been living under the constant threat of Islamist groups. In 1998, his daughter was kidnapped and seriously injured. Today her sister is being threatened with a similar fate. Despite reporting these threats, the police has never intervened. Lahore Priest: extremists enjoy impunity.

    05/01/2005 EGYPT - ISLAM
    Christians jailed since December set free
    Coptic Patriarch Shenouda III was in self-imposed exile in a monastery to free them.



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