Pakistan: Christian man shot dead by Muslim in-laws

Christians in Pakistan have held demonstrations over persecution in the country.Reuters

The family of a Christian man who was shot dead by his Muslim in-laws is now being threatened also. The couple's lawyer is also receiving threats.

Aleem Masih, 28, married Nadia, 23, last year and they moved nearly 40 miles away from Lahore to Narang Mandi to escape her family. Lawyer Aneeqa Maria of The Voice Society told Morning Star News that the couple had petitioned Lahore High Court for police protection due to threats they and Masih's family had received.

According to the lawyer, Nadia's father and her brothers seized the a rickshaw in which the couple were travelling and took them to a nearby farm where they beat them. Masih was shot dead and his wife seriously injured. Both were left for dead, although she survived and is being treated in hospital. 

Extremist Muslims believe that apostasy, or leaving the religion, should be punished by death.

"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," the lawyer told Morning Star News. "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.

Later a mob gathered outside the hospital shouting anti-Christian slogans.

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