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Pakistani Christian man shot for buying house in Muslim neighborhood dies

Pakistani Christian man shot for buying house in Muslim neighborhood dies

Women from the Christian community mourn for their relatives, who were killed by a suicide attack on a church, during their funeral in Lahore, March 17, 2015. Suicide bombings outside two churches in Lahore killed 14 people and wounded nearly 80 others during services on Sunday in attacks claimed by a faction of the Pakistani Taliban. | (Photo: Reuters/Mohsin Raza)

A Pakistani Christian man who was shot by his neighbors in early June for buying a house in a Muslim neighborhood died last week despite multiple operations to save his life.

The U.K.-based charity Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement reports that 50-year-old Nadeem Joseph succumbed to his injuries on June 29, over three weeks after he was hospitalized following an attack against him and his family by Muslim neighbors. 

On June 4, Joseph, his mother-in-law and brother-in-law were attacked by a man named Salman Khan and his sons in front of their home in the Sawati Phatak colony city of Peshawar in the Khybar Pakhtunkhawa province. 

The family purchased the home in late May and said they faced days of harassment and threats before being attacked in early June.

Joseph suffered two shots to the stomach, while his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Masih, was shot in the shoulder in the attack.

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According to The Express Tribune, Joseph underwent several surgeries at the Lady Reading Hospital for nearly a month before his death.

Joseph recorded a video message while he was in the hospital, according to the U.S.-based persecution advocacy group International Christian Concern

In the video, Joseph said his Muslim neighbors had told him that his new neighborhood was “meant for Muslim residents only.” He was also allegedly told that "Christians and Jews are the opponents of Muslims."

“It is unbelievable that in the 21st century, a Pakistani Christian family were shot for buying a house in a Muslim Area,” CLAAS-UK Director Nasir Saeed said in a statement

“It is true that there are several areas in the country where non-Muslims are not allowed to buy a house and in some areas non-Muslims are not even allowed to rent a house," he added, stressing that "atrocities against Christians continue to rise in Pakistan."

“[L]aw enforcement authorities hardly take any action while the government turns a blind eye to all these atrocities,” Saeed said. 

It was reported earlier that Khan’s four sons were arrested while he remained at large. It's not clear whether Khan has been arrested or what charges have been pressed against the suspects. 

News of Joseph’s death has drawn responses from supporters on social media.  

“His only crime was that he purchased a home in a Muslim area, which cost him his life,” stressed the nonprofit organization Voice of Pakistan Minority in a tweet on July 1. “This is the value of minorities' life living in #Pakistan."

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Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith, or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP.

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