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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”By ICC’s Pakistan Correspondent” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1524746114971{margin-bottom: 22px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”99704″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]05/07/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Easter is meant to be a joyful time when Christians reflect on the salvation gained by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Across the world, Christian families gather together and celebrate. But for one Christian family in Pakistan, this joyful gathering led to tragedy.

Our family traveled all the way from Lahore to Quetta to celebrate Easter with our relatives,” Kinza, the teenage daughter of Emmanuel and Firdous, told International Christian Concern (ICC). “One of our uncles joined us from Dubai as well. I was extremely excited for my first trip to Quetta.

Located in Pakistan’s southwestern region, Quetta is the provincial capital of Baluchistan and has recently experienced several terrorist attacks committed by extremists loyal to ISIS. While these attacks have focused on security forces, ISIS militants targeted Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in the weeks leading up to Christmas. As a result of that attack, nine Christians were killed and dozens more were injured. Christians in Quetta have been on edge ever since.

We arrived there on March 31 and I had fun with cousins, visited a few new places, and enjoyed the Easter Sunday,” Kinza continued. “I never thought I’d be going through [such] agony and end up losing my mother and three uncles the very next day. It was an unforgettable and unbelievable day. I will mark it as a black day throughout my life.

On the day after Easter, Kinza’s mother, Firdous, and three uncles, Tariq Masih, Imran Masih, and Pervaiz Masih, were shot and killed as they loaded into an auto-rickshaw outside of their relative’s home in the Shahzaman neighborhood of Quetta.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“It was an unforgettable and unbelievable day. I will mark it as a black day throughout my life.”” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1525718393785{margin-top: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 60px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1525718442095{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

Pervaiz was sitting on the driver’s seat of the auto-rickshaw, and Tariq and Imran were chatting with him while standing on the left and right side of the auto-rickshaw,” Kinza told ICC as she recounted the details of the incident. “My mother and another cousin of mine were sitting on the back seat of the vehicle. I was about to join my mother when I saw two masked men on a motorbike with guns. They stopped in front of the auto-rickshaw and began shooting at Imran and Tariq. Within no time, they then fired at Perviaz and my mother.

I ran into the house with heavy breaths and closed the door from inside,” Kinza continued. “The attackers banged on the door in order to get inside the house; however, thank God, they failed.

After a few moments, we rushed outside and saw blood on the street and the dead bodies of our beloveds on the ground,” Kinza described as she began to sob and bury her face into her father’s chest.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack on the Christian family, marking its second major attack on Christians in Quetta. The terrorist group reported that a “covert unit” of its militants “managed to target a number of the combatant Christians.”

The government has failed in providing security,” Emmanuel Masih, Kinza’s father, said. “We want justice. The officials only arranged the shifting of the bodies of our loved ones to the Lahore airport. They have done nothing beyond that point. The provincial government has announced some solidarity packages for the martyrs’ families; however, these promises have not been fulfilled.

For Shama, Pervaiz’s widow and a mother of seven children, life has become very difficult. “I had a very sound, happy, and prosperous life with my husband,” Shama told ICC. “However, I do not know what to do in order to keep me and my kids alive. The government should provide shelter, a job, and schooling for my children.

This is not the first, and likely not the last, time that terrorists will attack Christians in Pakistan. But the trend of attacking during religious celebrations has a particularly devastating effect for the Christian community. Times that were once joyful and cause for celebration have now been perverted into times of tragedy and fear. Pakistan’s government must do more to secure the lives of Christians and their places of worship. If not, more Christian families will become victims of terrorist assaults.

For interviews with William Stark, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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