14-year-old persecuted Pakistani believer executed by extremists

On February 5, in a remote village in Punjab, Pakistan, a small Christian community gathered to commemorate a wedding. The crowd gathered around the church and celebrated the new bride and groom. But tensions quickly escalated when a band of Muslim extremists arrived on their motorcycles.

The seven motorcyclists parked in front of the church and began verbally harassing the attendees, especially the women. A group of young Christian boys, one of them being a 14-year-old named Sunil, stepped forward and confronted the extremists. They remained calm and asked the fanatic gang to quit their vulgar slurs and leave. There was a heated exchange, but the motorcyclists eventually packed up and left. But it didn’t take long for them to return.

When the radicals returned that night, they hunted out the boys who had stood up to them. They picked one out and beat him within inches of his life. Fearing retaliatory violence, the motorcyclists left. However, they would return to the village just days later, this time with guns.

On their motorcycles, the assailants drove through the neighborhood and fired their guns in the air, intimidating the Christians hiding in their homes. They then drove to the church and shot at the outside of the building. Miraculously no one was hurt, but the community felt extremely vulnerable and threatened.

Local Christians filed a police complaint against the attackers. Once the name of these Christians leaked, though, in another intimidation attempt, the radicals returned and put bullets through the doors of their homes. Fearing for their lives again, these Christians redacted their complaints.

A week later, the radicals returned, this time driving up and down the streets shouting, “We will not spare a single Christian today.” They vandalized homes and spewed abuses. Courageously, Sunil and other youth again stepped forward in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.

As the attackers approached Sunil, they recognized him as one of the Christians that had stood up to them at the wedding. After insulting him, they opened fire and shot him in the chest.

The attackers swiftly fled, and Sunil’s family rushed him to the hospital, but he tragically succumbed to his injuries before getting medical assistance.

Sunil’s family has stepped forward and demands justice by local authorities. They state that Sunil’s death is the result of religious hatred, intolerance and the perpetrator’s confidence that the justice system will ultimately fail the victim. They have filed a police report and have named six attackers.

“The broader Christian community in our village is still enduring significant threats, fear and trauma following the sequence of attacks and Sunil’s death,” Sunil’s uncle states. “Residents of the local Christian community now avoid venturing out of their homes after nightfall due to the risk of additional attacks.”

Source: Global Christian Relief

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