A Muslim family in Lahore, Pakistan, has abducted, tortured and shot their 23-year-old daughter and her Christian husband, leaving them for dead, in retaliation for their daughter's conversion to Christianity.
The 28-year-old husband, Aleem Masih, was killed in the late-July incident after taking three shots, including one to the head. His wife, Nadia, was shot in the midsection and remains in critical condition in the hospital, the Christian persecution monitor Morning Star News reported.
The Masihs got married about a year ago after Nadia gave her life to Jesus at the dismay of her Muslim parents. The Masihs decided to flee to the Narang Mandi, a town about 37 miles from Lahore, to avoid being victimized by an act of honor violence from Nadia's family after Aleem and his family members were continuously threatened.
"The couple fled to Narang Mandi, some 60 kilometers [37 miles] away from Lahore, as Nadia's Muslim family launched a manhunt for them to avenge the shame their daughter had brought upon them by recanting Islam and marrying a Christian," Aneeqa Maria, an attorney from the human rights organization The Voice Society, told Morning Star News.
Although the Masih couple filed a petition with the Lahore High Court for government protection, it is believed that Nadia's parents were informed that the couple was going to visit to a doctor in the Youhanabad district of Lahore where the couple was later kidnappped by Nadia's fathers and brothers.
Witnesses recall Nadia's father, Muhammad Din Meo, and her brothers stopping a rickshaw that the couple was riding in and abducting the couple at gunpoint. The family then took the married couple to a farm where they beat and shot the husband and wife.
"The Muslim men first brutally tortured the couple with fists and kicks and then thrice shot Aleem Masih. One bullet hit him in his ankle, the second in the ribs, while the third targeted his face," Maria described. "Nadia was shot in the abdomen."
The attackers left the farm believing that they had killed both Aleem and Nadia.
"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," Maria explained. "Nadia's brother, Azhar, then presented himself before the police and confessed to having killed his sister and her Christian husband."
But when police arrived at the scene of the crime, Nadia was still breathing. She was taken to a general hospital in Lahore, where bullets were removed from her abdomen and she is still battling for her life.
As a team from The Voice Society visited Masih in the hospital, a mob of Muslim hardliners gathered outside the hospital to protest Masih's conversion.
"The mob, some of them armed with weapons, was shouting furious anti-Christian slogans," Maria said. "They were also praising Azhar for restoring the pride of the Muslim Ummah [community] and saying that he had earned his place in paradise for killing an 'infidel.'"
With the help of The Voice Society, Nadia and the Masih family have filed an official police report. However, Nadia's father and brothers have not been arrested.
As is the case with most Christian persecution cases in Pakistan, Maria also explained that she and the Masih family have been threatened by area Muslims to drop their case.
"We are pursuing the case nonetheless," Maria asserted. "Murder in the name of religion and honor must not be allowed, and the perpetrators should be held accountable."