By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– A prominent Christian rights lawyer in Pakistan says he has survived another apparent assassination attempt by suspected Islamic militants.
Sardar Mushtaq Gill told BosNewsLife that attackers began shooting around his home late Saturday, July 9, at 22.40 p.m. local time, while his younger brother and two other men were standing in the front door.
“The three ran away when the shooters fired straight towards them.” One Muslim neighbor was injured in the attack, he said. “After spreading terror the shooters fled away from the spot”.
Police was investigating and searching for suspects late Saturday, August 9, explained Gill, the national director of the Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD) group. “They took the statements of the injured [neighbor] and the other two men including [my] brother,” he said. The exact location of the incident was not immediately revealed amid security concerns.
“We at LEAD condemn this sad incident and demand that authorities must arrest the culprits and also provide security to Mr.Gill and his family,” his group said in a statement.
The group told BosNewsLife it also asked Christians “to pray for Mr.Gill and his family.” LEAD said Gill is being targeted “due to his human rights work” as in November last year a similar shooting incident happened with him.
Saturday’s attack came shortly after LEAD asked the Lahore High Court to fix the date of a repeatedly postponed appeal hearing of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five, who was sentenced to death on charges of “blasphemy” against Islam.
She was detained in 2009 after reportedly telling Muslim co-workers that Jesus Christ is alive. Bibi made the remarks while working in the fields for a Muslim landowner, according to investigators.
“Since the the death conviction, she is languishing in jail and awaiting her appeal decision which is now pending in the Lahore High Court,” confirmed Gill. “Her appeal hearing has been cancelled…five times.
Gill said she is expected to appear in front of a court on September 9. Blasphemy is a very controversial issue in Pakistan, where several Christians are known to be detained across the country while churches suffered attacks.