Christian man in Pakistan killed in brutal knife attack trying to defend Muslim friend

A Christian man in Pakistan was knifed to death following a dispute over a piece of land. Nazir Masih was cutting grass on 5 April with Muhammad Nawaz, a Muslim friend of his, when three Muslim men approached the pair. Following an argument, two of the men attacked Nawaz. Nazir tried to intervene to help his friend, but he was stabbed to death on the spot. Nawaz survived the attack.

The incident occurred in the Wandala Dayal Shah area of Sheikhupura District, where around 1,000 Christian families live. The dispute centred on a piece of land owned by Muhammad Nawaz which a local Muslim man, Achi Gujjar, was demanding be transferred to him. Nawaz refused, saying he would not transfer the land until the full price of it had been paid (only part of it had been paid for).

Nawaz was then attacked by Achi’s two companions, Muhammad Haider and Muhammad Nazar, both butchers by profession, resulting in a head injury which left him unconscious for 25 minutes. The attackers then turned on Nazir, who had witnessed the attack and attempted to help his friend. They targeted his face and neck, killing him instantly. Nawaz was rushed to hospital and released three days later.

Rasheedan Bibi, Nazir’s wife, said that her husband, who was the breadwinner for herself and their daughter, lived peacefully with the local people. Nazir also leaves behind two adult sons, both of whom work to support their respective families. The families of both Nazir and Nawaz live under the poverty line in Pakistan. Following the attack, Nawaz understandably remains in a state of shock and grief.

Christians in Pakistan often find it difficult to get justice for crimes committed against them. In this instance, with another Muslim victim in the incident, together with widespread protests from local villagers, it is hoped justice will prevail. The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), which Barnabas Fund supports, are providing legal support to the family.

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