A Pakistani Christian who stood up to Muslim drug dealers was brutally slaughtered for his efforts, a local Christian organization has revealed.
According to the British-Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), 55-year-old Nazeer Masih was attacked with an iron rod and a chopping knife on April 6, leaving him battered with a cut throat after he warned some Muslim drug dealers to stop recruiting young Christians to participate in the sale and consumption of drugs.
"This is not the first incident of persecution of Christians in our village, local Muslims are always creating problems for our Christian community," local pastor Alfred Azam told BPCA. "Before and after our church services Muslim drug dealers swarm around our church trying to sell drugs to our vulnerable youth."
The dealers also attacked Masih's Muslim friend, but his injuries were not fatal. By the time locals and family members arrived at the scene Masih was already dead, and despite the incident being reported to local police immediately, no action was taken.
Masih left behind a wife, Rasheed Bibi, and a son, Patris Masih, who told BPCA he was "utterly horrified by the brutality of the savage attack" on his father, an event that left him "heartbroken and traumatized."
BPCA Wilson Chowdhry said the case is just the latest in a string of cases where the safety of Christians is overlooked by Pakistan's government.
"Often Pakistani Christian asylum applications to the U.K. are denied on the basis that Christians are offered a police service and have a judicial system set up to protect them," Chowdhry said. "Yet in this case, once again we have evidence of a corrupt and poorly administered rule of law that is biased against the deprived Christian community."
He added that drug addiction is a "rising concern" in Pakistani Christian communities, as young men and women are often recruited by wealthy Muslim drug lords.
The BPCA has set up a donations appeal to help Masih's family pay for legal fees, funeral costs and trauma counseling.
Pakistan, the world's second largest Muslim country, is ranked #6 on the Open Doors 2016 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians, and has received the maximum score in the violence category.
"The level of pressure is high in all spheres of life and persecution is driven mainly by radical Islamic groups, rather than the government," reads the report.
More than 100 homes were set on fire by outraged Muslims in Badami Bagh, Lahore, in March 2013 after a Christian man was accused of speaking against the Muslim prophet Mohammad.
In September of the same year, 81 people were killed and more than 100 injured in twin explosions outside a church in Peshawar.
Recently, 72 people were killed and more than 320 others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a busy park in Lahore, Pakistan.
The Islamic extremist group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which splintered from the Taliban, has since taken responsibility for the bombing, which took place on Easter Sunday.
In a media statement, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said that while many Muslims were killed, the suicide bomber deliberately targeted the Christian community.
"We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter," Ehsan said in the statement.
"It was part of our annual martyrdom attacks we have started this year," he added. "We had been waiting for this occasion...We didn't want to kill women and children. Our targets were male members of the Christian community."