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Emmanuel Masih
Emmanuel Masih after the assault.
Photo: Morning Star News

Muhammad Waseem, a Muslim landowner in Punjab's Khanewal district, assaulted and killed a Christian farm labourer on February 6th after accusing the believer of stealing oranges from his property. The victim, Emmanuel Masih, was irrigating the orchard at around 3 a.m. when he was approached by Muhammad and four other men. Though Emmanuel pled his innocence, the five men brutally beat the married father of six to death.

According to police reports, no evidence was found to support the allegations of theft, and charges have been laid against the landowner and two of his accomplices. However, Emmanuel's family members wonder if justice in this case will actually be upheld. Speaking of the challenges experienced by Christians in the village, Emmanuel's nephew Zahid Sahotra lamented: "We are very poor and too weak to even think of offending the Muslim villagers. They know that we are helpless and that they can get away with anything, even murder." Without the funds required to obtain the help of a good representing lawyer, the family is concerned that those responsible will soon be released on bail.

This is not the first time a murderous crime was perpetrated this year against a member of Pakistan's vulnerable Christian community. On January 11th, a Christian guava farmer named Allah Ditta was gunned down after confronting three Muslim men who were stealing and destroying fruit from his orchard. An altercation ensued in which the Christian man was called a "chuhra" – a derogatory term used for Christians.

The victim's son, Shahbaz Masih, who happened to be with his father during the incident, reported that the men derisively stated there would be "no chance at justice," even if they killed the Christian farmer. One of the three assailants, identified only as Usama, then pulled out a gun and shot Allah in the chest. As the perpetrators fled the crime scene, they warned Shahbaz that they would kill him and his family if he contacted the police.

Shahbaz called for an ambulance as soon as the men left, but by then his father was already dead. All three of the men have been arrested and charged for the Christian man's murder. However, the attackers come from wealthy families with strong political ties. The gunman's father, a retired army officer, has offered Allah's family 500,000 rupees (approximately $2,500 CAD) if they dropped the charges. Although the family refused to accept his bribe, there are concerns of potential retaliation, and the resulting danger it could pose, because of the powerful position held by the former officer.

Thankfully, support is being provided to the family, both from neighbours and advocacy groups. A caring Muslim neighbour stated, "The murderers have killed him without reason and we are standing with the family of Allah Ditta. We are hoping they get justice."

Pakistani Christians often face significant disadvantages when dealing with legal matters because of their poverty and low societal standing. In such cases, the authorities frequently discriminate against religious minorities, demonstrating partiality towards Muslim citizens. To learn more about the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, go to our country report.

Please pray for the grieving families of the two Christian men who were needlessly killed over trivialities relating to the produce of farmed crop, indicating an underlying animosity towards those who follow Christianity. May the victims' loved ones abide in the comfort of God's healing presence during their times of mourning, drawing needed strength, courage and hope from Him. Ask the Lord to prompt fellow believers and others in the community to come alongside them with further encouragement and loving support. Finally, pray for His intervention in Pakistan's judicial system, ensuring that the perpetrators' position in society or other societal advantages will in no way deter authorities from rightfully pursuing justice.

Current Ministry Projects

Throughout Pakistan, VOMC’s ministry partners are providing Christian women with practical skills training in sewing so they can obtain a sustainable source of income for their families, as well as needed spiritual encouragement to strengthen their faith and witness for Christ.

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Women’s Ministry

Country Information

238,181,034 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Punjabi (44.7), Pashtun [Pathan] (15.4), Sindhi (14.1), Saraiki (8.4) Muhajirs (7.6) Balochi (3.6), Other (6.3)

Religion (%)
Islam (96.5), Other - Christian and Hindu (3.5)

President Arif Alvi (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Common law system with Islamic law influence

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Pakistan

Pray that amendments will be made to Pakistan's existing blasphemy laws so that the country's citizens – including its children – will be protected from injustice and abuse. May our Lord's mercy and justice prevail, not only in the judiciary system but also in the hearts of the country's militants. Ask Him to transform their "hearts of stone" into hearts that are receptive to His love, mercy and the workings of His Holy Spirit – not only for the purpose of protecting the Christian minority but also for the salvation of their own eternal souls.


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