By Open Doors 3 June 2024 4 MIN

Pakistan | Mob Attacks Christians

On Saturday, 25 May, 63-year-old Christian man, Nazir Masih, was beaten and falsely accused of dishonouring the faith sentiments of Pakistan’s majority faith group Islam. One week after his brutal beating, his funeral was held in the same location of his persecution, while his family are all being held in police custody.

According to news sources and verified online reports, the burnt fragments of the Quran were planted to set up Nazir. Tensions in the town of Sargodha, a town in Pakistan’s Punjab province, have been simmering since Eid, the previous festival of breaking the fast that followed Ramadan. Nazir, who the extremists saw as a threat because of his humble but successful footwear business and employment of other Christians, finally became the focus of their anger and hate. 

The morning of the accusation, mobs rallied and attacked the Masih family. The rest of Nazir’s family members were successful in escaping with the help of the police, but Nazir was captured by the mob. Nazir’s 38-year-old son, Sultan, made several attempts to rescue his father, but the police arrested him. Soon after, the violent crowd began to beat Nazir with sticks and rods, while others hurled stones at him, resulting in severe injuries. Assuming he was dead, the police transported him to the hospital. While initial reports indicated that he was still alive in a severely critical condition at District Headquarters Hospital, we now know that Nazir has sadly passed away. 

Nazir’s residence has also been entirely destroyed–home to a total of 10 members including his son, two daughters-in-law, and 6 grandchildren. The footwear business he operated with his son has also been ruined, alongside his daughter-in-law’s parlour in a nearby area that suffered the same fate. Vile and gruesome visuals also flooded the internet. 

False Report Registered Under Blasphemy Laws

Church leaders are advocating for the safety of Nazir’s family, including women and children, who are currently in police custody at an undisclosed location. Negotiations with law enforcement are proving a challenge because the First Information Report (FIR) is registered under blasphemy laws against Nazir and his son at the local police station. It becomes very challenging to handle legal matters once the FIR is registered in such cases.  . 

Open Doors’ analyst, Thomas Muller, says, “Unfortunately, the mob`s reaction to an accusation of blasphemy is not surprising. While police try to quell rioting, as in this incident, they do not always succeed. Sargodha is one of the hot spots in the country. More worrying and encouraging for perpetrators is that they do not have to face any consequences from their actions.”

Pray for Pakistan:

  • Pray that God grants comfort and peace to Nazir’s family who are in deep distress and remain in police custody. Pray that God keeps this situation under His control.
  • Pray for the Christian community who have been shaken by the violent attack against their fellow believers. May God’s Spirit bring comfort and resilience.
  • Pray for those responsible for Nazir’s death to face justice. You, O Lord, are our “shield” and “the lifter” of our head. Amen. (Psalm 3:3) 

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In India, our brothers and sisters are enduring extreme persecution because they love Jesus. Their church buildings are being destroyed, they are being imprisoned and beaten, and they face constant threats from authorities and false charges of conversion.

Today, will you give help to the hurting, and strengthen our Indian family in their great time of need? 

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