By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
KARACHI, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– A funeral took place in Pakistan Monday, September 17, of two young Christian men who were killed by suspected Islamic militants over the weekend after a pastor was murdered, amid growing anti-Christian violence in this heavily Muslim nation, a human rights official told BosNewsLfe.
Nasir Masih, 24, and Rafi Masih, 25, died Saturday, September 15 in the city of Karachi, said Farrukh Saif, who leads the World Vision in Progress (WVIP) group.
He recalled that four or five gunmen entered their homes in Karachi’s Essa Nagri neighborhood where they allegedly shot and killed the victims at close range.
Four other people were seriously injured by the bullets, “but thanks to God they are safe now,” Saif said.
Saif, whose group is investigating the case, said it was part of a wider deadly campaign to force residents out of the area.
Earlier last week “one Christian young man was killed, and one pastor was badly injured” when militants opened fire outside a music shop in the same area,
The boy was identified as Fasial Mughal, 22, the pastor as 30-year-old Cornelius of an evangelical church.
Two suspected militants of the radical Awani National Party were detained over the August 28 attack after WVIP pressured authorities, he said.
There was no comment yet from the party.
It was not immediately clear Monday, September 17, which group was behind Saturday’s violence that killed the two Christian men. “Police is not cooperating in the investigation.They are not listening this time,” Saif complained.
While Saif said the killings seemed unrelated, he said there are concerns among Pakistani Christians that the controversy over an anti-Islam film, which was partly posted on the YouTube website, will lead to even more violence directed against them.
On Monday, September 17, Pakistan banned access to the site, Saif said.
Separately, in the capital Islamabad hundreds of Christians families were forced to flee a slum area in recent weeks after they were targeted by Muslim mobs following the detention of a mentally challenged Christian girl for blasphemy, Saif told BosNewsLife earlier.
United States President Barack Obama has ordered increased security around U.S. embassies following deadly violence against the film in which the American ambassador to Libya and three of his staff members were killed.
Christians comprise less than five percent of Pakistan’s mostly Muslim population of over 180 million people, according to official estimates.