Two members of a Christian family in Pakistan were shot and wounded after buying a house in a Muslim neighbourhood.
The attack by some Muslim neighbours took place on 4 June in Sawati Phatak Colony, Peshawar, Asia News reports.
On Sunday, police in the city of Peshawar in the Khybar Pakhtunkhawa province arrested the sons of a man accused of shooting two members of the Christian family after they purchased a home in late May in the Sawati Phatak colony.
The alleged perpetrator, Salman Khan, is still at large.
A month ago, Nadeem Joseph bought a house for about 600,000 rupees (US,700), and moved in with his family in late May.
Once he found out that the 50-year-old Joseph and his family were Christians, Salman Khan went to tell them that they had to leave immediately because the neighbourhood was Muslim and that Christians (like Jews) are enemies of Islam.
For days, Khan and his children harassed Nadeem Joseph and his family, threatening serious consequences if the Christian family did not leave the house.
On the day of the attack, Khan showed up at the Christian house giving the residents a 24-hour ultimatum. Nadeem Joseph replied that he and his family had the right to live where they wanted and that they would not go away.
Noticing that Khan and his sons had guns, Joseph tried to call the police, but was shot in the belly before he could do so. The attackers then turned their weapons on other members of the Christian family, wounding Joseph’s mother-in-law in the shoulder.
No neighbour intervened to help the Christians. After calling the emergency ambulance service, Joseph and his mother-in-law were taken to Lady Reading Hospital, where they are still recuperating, and out of danger.
From his hospital bed, Joseph reported the incident to police officers.
For Khalid Shahzad, a Christian activist who is in touch with Joseph’s family and the police, this crime shows the high level of intolerance towards minorities in Pakistan.
“The main offender is still at large. Law enforcement agencies must do everything possible to capture him and bring him to justice, “Shahzad told AsiaNews.
However, behind the attack there is not only discrimination. For Joseph, “Salman Khan and his family are narrow minded people, but they are also involved in cocaine trafficking. Our presence could mean trouble for them.”
Open Doors USA ranks Pakistan as the fifth-worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution and notes that Christians are generally “regarded as second-class citizens.”
There are various forms of Christian persecution in Pakistan, including laws that criminalize blasphemy that are often abused by Muslims to take advantage of religious minorities.