Sahiwal: (PCP) We previously reported on the double shooting and axe attack on the Christian community of Sahiwal near Lahore, following attempts to build a church. You can read the full article (here)
Azeem Masih (32 yrs) who was shot in the head before his entire 38 family Christian community who were forced to stay back and watch has undergone specialist brain surgery at a hospital in Lahore. He is now out of critical condition but is unable to speak and is recovering many of his other senses slowly. The family have asked for support for the costs of now necessary muscular and speech therapy through which it may take up to a year for him to recover fully, if at all. The family also require help for costs of travel to and from the hospital in Lahore which is 154 km away from Sahiwal. Usual journey times are around 4 hours.
Harrowing account from the Azeem Masih family and from other local Christians express the great terror that the beleagured Christian family, had to endure after being woken up by a horde of local Muslims, shouting insults at the residents of the small enclave.
Humaira, the wife of Azeem Masih, said: "We were all asleep at 11pm , as Azeem is a tailor and had to work from early in the morning.
"Suddenly we heard a evil-sounding cacophony of shouts.
"Some of the local community including Azeem went out of the house to see what was happening - other were dragged out by a local Muslim gang that had gathered around the Christian properties.
"The men seemed intent to harm all the Christians, they were threatening to rape all the Christian women and beat and kill all other Christians.
"I was shuddering with fear."
She added: "I got on my knees and prayed and then heard gunshots.
"After this people could be heard running and screaming.
"Someone told me Azeem had been shot, I ran to him and at first I thought he was dead.
"I sat their weeping until the police arrived and took us to hospital.
Azeem has been married to his wife Humaira (30 yrs) for 2 years and has a young son Tabeel (8 months). BACA would also like to help them with a grant of £100 per month to cover their monthly living costs while Azeem recovers. If you would like to help please donate by clicking (here)
Humaira described her family's current situation, she said: "I am heartbroken.
"Azeem and I have only recently had a child and he has hardly got to know Tabeel.
"Now I do not know if he will ever be able to speak to Tabeel again.
"I am not used to seeing Azeem like this, he has become so dependent on others, whereas he was always the first to help them.
"Azeem was a healthy and committed husband and father - a man of God who wanted to strengthen the church with a new building.
"I cannot understand why these men have acted so violently, as they were not provoked by us - we have tried to live peaceful lives.
"Our future is now so uncertain and we will be placing our lives in the hands of God."
Azeem's family have asked for prayers from the global Christian community. They are being supported by British Asian Christian Association. You can watch video (here) or in the embed below:
In the meanwhile, the Christian villagers continue to pursue local police to take action against the known gunmen and are still fighting against a counter allegation that they too were involved in the shooting. BACA would like to support them with the cost of a solicitor as the local police force is currently taking no action against the gunmen. It is believed police reluctance is due to the power and influence of the wealthy Muslim suspects and that police have been bribed.