Pakistan: Interfaith Couple Tortured

From the Gospel Herald:
Islamist groups are threatening the family and attorney of a young Christian man shot dead by Muslim in-laws who also wounded his wife over her decision to marry him and leave Islam, the attorney said.

Aleem Masih, 28, married Nadia, 23, last year after she put her faith in Christ.
"The couple fled to Narang Mandi, some 60 kilometers [37 miles] away from Lahore, as Nadia's Muslim family launched a manhunt for them to avenge the shame their daughter had brought upon them by recanting Islam and marrying a Christian," attorney Aneeqa Maria of The Voice Society told Morning Star News.

Maria said that the Christian couple had filed a petition in the Lahore High Court seeking police protection due to threats against them by Nadia's family, who were also threatening Masih's relatives.

On July 30, Nadia's family received a tip that the couple would visit a doctor in Khaliqnagar, in the Youhanabad area, that evening, Maria said. Eyewitnesses said Nadia's father, Muhammad Din Meo, along with her brothers, seized the driver of a three-wheeled rickshaw in which the couple were riding and abducted the couple, the attorney said. They took the couple to a nearby farm.

"The Muslim men first brutally tortured the couple with fists and kicks and then thrice shot Aleem Masih - one bullet hit him in his ankle, the second in the ribs while the third targeted his face," the attorney said. "Nadia was shot in the abdomen."

Maria said that the Muslim relatives left believing they had killed the couple.

"The attackers returned to their village and publicly proclaimed that they had avenged their humiliation and restored the pride of the Muslims by killing the couple in cold blood," she said. "Nadia's brother, Azhar, then presented himself before the police and confessed to having killed his sister and her Christian husband."

Police, however, found Nadia still breathing when they arrived at the farm.

"She was shifted to the General Hospital in Lahore, where she is fighting for her life after a major operation in which two bullets were removed from her abdomen," said the lawyer.

Maria said that when she and her team visited the hospital, a large number of Muslims were gathered there.

"The mob, some of them armed with weapons, was shouting furious anti-Christian slogans," she said. "They were also praising Azhar for restoring the pride of the Muslim Ummah [community] and saying that he had earned his place in paradise for killing an 'infidel.'"

She found a similar display at the local police station, where a large number of Muslims had gathered to pressure police.

The next day officers registered a case against Azhar and others, including Nadia's father, but police have not taken them into custody as they have been granted pre-arrest bail, she said.

Maria said the Muslim family and Islamist groups were now threatening her, demanding that she and the slain Christian's family drop the case.

"We are pursuing the case nonetheless," she said. "Murder in the name of religion and honor must not be allowed, and the perpetrators should be held accountable for this brutal act."

The investigating officer in the case could not be reached for comment...

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