Muslim extremists in Lahore, Pakistan have threatened to burn alive members of a Christian family and abduct and kill young Christian girls in the area after a Muslim woman eloped with a Christian man.
According to a report from Christians in Pakistan, the threats began after Bahadur, a Christian man, eloped with a Muslim woman who was already married and mother of two. Infuriated by the elopement, local Muslims threatened to burn alive 13 members of Bahadur's family. The group also threatened to abduct Christian girls of the area and burn them alive in reprisal of the incident.
"The situation has left local Christian residents up for grabs," reads the report. "In the face of the looming storm, Christian leadership is urged to take note of the frightening situation."
According to World Watch Monitor, Lahore is a largely Christian-dominated city in the predominantly Muslim country. However, Christians are nevertheless considered religious minorities and treated as inferior citizens by their Muslim counterparts.
Over the weekend, police violently attacked the lead pastor of United Christian Church in Lahore following a complaint about alleged noise levels from the church's sound system, leaving him severely injured.
A short time earlier, a Muslim mob attacked a Christian ice cream vendor for selling "unclean merchandise to Muslim children." The group of about 20 attackers called Christians "untouchables" and declared they should not be permitted to sell food to Muslims.
On Easter Sunday, 72 people were killed by bombs targeting Christians in Lahore and 350 injured. At least 29 of those who died were children. A Muslim extremist group took responsibility for the killings and vowed that such attacks would continue "throughout the year."
In light of rampant persecution, Pakistan's People's Party Vice President and Senator Sherry Rehman last week criticized the government for its failure to protect religious minorities and said that inaction amounts "tacit approval" of the crimes.
"Pakistan cannot continue to tolerate continual religious persecution of its minorities. They are not second-class citizens and should not be treated as such." Rehman said.
Rehman urged the government to come up with a plan to combat such persecution: "The government needs to take a clear position on how it treats its citizens, especially the marginalized and vulnerable. It needs to have a plan of action that we can all uphold and pursue,"
Open Doors USA's 2015 World Watch List report ranked Pakistan as number 8 on the list of nations where Christians face the most severe persecution.