One Killed, Several Injured In Pakistan Church Shooting

Friday, March 6, 2009

By Jawad Mazhar, Worthy News Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan

SINGOWALI, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)-- One person was killed and at least 11 injured when Muslim militants opened fire on Christian worshipers during a prayer service of a Presbyterian Church in Pakistan's Punjab province, Christian rights investigators and police confirmed Friday, March 6.

A woman, Shakeela Bibi, died on the spot while several others were injured in the shootings on Monday, March 2, in the remote village of Singowali, outside the industrial city of Gujranwala, said Sohail Johnson of advocacy group Sharing Life Ministries Pakistan (SLMP). Other sources said as many as 28 Christians were injured.

Besides shooting, Muslims, armed with iron rods and clubs, also smashed the windows of the church and desecrated Bibles, witnesses said. They reportedly removed the cross erected at the roof of the church and left the scene shouting at the Christians that they would face worse attacks if they did not leave the town. Several Christian homes were also attacked, Christians said.

The violence was the culmination of several days of tension after a Christian boy registered a criminal case against armed Muslim youths who allegedly robbed him at gunpoint last month.

"TEACHING A LESSON"

Insulted that a Christian would register a case against Muslims, the attack was planned in order to "teach a lesson" to the Christian community, said Emmanuel Shad, an elder at the church, in a statement distributed by rights group International Christian Concern (ICC).

The thieves reportedly assaulted 17-year-old Imran Masih, after stealing his mobile phone and about $40. Christian protesters took to the streets this week demanding justice and halting traffic. They dispersed after local police chief Athar Waheed said the "culprits would be put behind bars soon."

However police said Friday, March 6, they were still searching for suspects in the church shootings, the latest in a series of attacks against Christians in the region in recent weeks.

On February 25, Muslim militants attacked the Singowali United Christian, shouting abuses and destroying Christian literature, Nasir Khokhar, a local Christian politician, told Worthy News. That incident apparently happened after Christians protested against Muslim preachers "abusing Christ."

MORE ATTACKS

Outside Punjab province, tensions have also risen in Pakistan's North West Frontier province where Taliban militants reportedly blew up 16 CD and DVD stores in Takhtbhai, in the district of Mardan northeast of the capital Peshawar, this week, Christians said.

Last month several girls schools were attacked in the region and there have been concerns over the imposition of Shariah, or Muslim, law in the area. "This raises a big question for the government of Pakistan and especially for Christian legislators who proclaim to be defenders of Christian rights in Pakistan" said Ferhan Mazher, who leads advocacy group ‘Rays of Development Organization’.

"They should act as they had promised during their election manifesto and campaign," he told Worthy News and its partner news agency BosNewsLife. (With reporting by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos).

4 thoughts on “One Killed, Several Injured In Pakistan Church Shooting

  1. Wow. Thanks for posting this. I found it via a link in the Christian news portal

    This is a reminder of how important it is for we believers in the "free world" to pray for and lift up before the throne of the true God our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are in lands such as this. I know that too often I have taken my faith for granted. And that is a horrible thing.

    I fear that this sort of news will become more common now that the US government has made it clear that human rights issues don't matter in dealing with foreign governments as Mrs Clinton stated in China.

    Thanks again.

  2. Over the last few years the violence against Christians around the world has increased, I just pray that God shows them the right way. The Bible does mention that we are going to face many challenges, So let us pray for Our suffering fellow Christians. As we are in the period of Lent let us reflect and on what the Bible has said about Fasting and Prayer. The great to know that God is with us and will deliver us from evil.

    God Bless

    Khuram

  3. Jesus on the cross could say, "Father forgive them as they don't know what they are doing," because he knew they could kill His body but not his spirit. We Christians need to understand that we are to suffer by telling others that God loved us. They may say, "God loves us" but they cannot say, "He loved us." We stand as witness for John 3:16. They are blinded by the god of this world. Should we fight the blind? We should rather pray for their sight so that they can see God's love. I urge you Christian brothers and sisters to unleash the love of God. You are chosen for this task and this is your witness. You have not selected God but He chose you and appointed you to give witness for His love. The love that He has for all humanbeings, which He showed by giving His life on the cross. Don't be foolish to save this earthly life, because scripture says if you try to save it you will lose it and if you lose it you will receive it. Do you believe that you are chosen for eternity? Do you really believe it? If yes, then what you are afraid of.
    May you be a blessing for others,
    An insignificant servant of the Lord Jesus,
    Pardeep Kumar
    Please email me your comments

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