Five Pakistan Christians attacked by mob while building a church wall

Five Christians were attacked by a mob of 20 as they tried to build a wall around their church in Pakistan on Sunday, according to the persecution website World Watch Monitor.

'Our church elder, George Masih, who is 70, was overseeing masons and labourers who were constructing the wall. We were praying [inside the church] when we heard shouting and yelling, and, when we rushed outside, we saw about 20 men, armed with clubs and axes, [who] were beating Masih and others,' said the pastor of the Pakistan Gospel Assemblies church in Yousufwala village, on the outskirts of the Punjabi city of Sahiwal.

World Watch MonitorGeorge Masih (left) and his son Babar were taken to hospital after the attack.

The dispute is thought to centre around the use of the land, which was originally set apart for communal purposes though the pastor said they had obtained permission to build the church on the land three years ago.

'The attackers told us to stop building the wall as the land belonged to them. But we told them that this belongs to the church. At this they descended into fighting with us. Then our women tried to intervene but they too were beaten and their clothes were torn,' the pastor, who cannot be named for security reasons, said.

Sami Minhas, chairman of the Muthida (United) Christian Movement in Sahiwal, told World Watch Monitor: 'The incident took place during a worship service but the police are treating it as a land dispute between two parties.'

He added the church has been warned by police not to file a case against their attacks as this would fuel tensions between Christians and Muslims in the area.

'[Christians] are also told that if they would seek filing of blasphemy charges against the perpetrators, then blasphemy cases would be filed against them as well, as there had been requests [to do so] from local mosques,' Minhas added.