Pastor shot in Jaranwala
Eleazar Sidhu, the pastor of the Myong-Sang Naserth Church in Jaranwala, which had been one of the many churches attacked in the August riots, was shot in the upper chest.
Local Christians reported that Islamic slogans had been painted on the wall of the church building in Jaranwala, in the Punjab region. There was a curse against Pastor Eleazar among the phrases written. They reported the vandalism to the police and painted over the graffiti.
A few days later, some people seized Pastor Eleazar and threatened to murder him because he had removed the desecration. When the Pastor returned home on the 3rd of September, two unidentified men approached him. One of them pulled out a weapon and commanded the Pastor to quote the Kalima (the Islamic declaration of faith). Instead, Pastor Eleazar began reciting the Apostles’ Creed, at which point the man shot him in the upper chest and escaped.
Pastor Eleazar was rushed to the hospital, where doctors removed the bullet. Even though he lost a lot of blood, thankfully, he is recovering well after surgery.
The episode raised further concerns regarding the safety of Christians in the area. Police guards have been positioned at churches, but the locals are sceptic about the effectiveness of this.
Tensions are still high in Pakistan, which is infamous for the violence of militants sparked by allegations of blasphemy. In Sahiwal, a city located about 100 kilometres south of Faisalabad, an attack of similar outrage was averted on the 20th of August. Ehsaan Shan Masih, a member of the Sahiwal Baptist Church, found a video about the Jaranwala incident and shared the post on social media. Militant Islamic leaders in the area quickly called for protests, claiming that the Christian had committed blasphemy. Due to the intervention of police, Ehsaan and his family were taken into protective custody. However, as Muslims demanded his arrest, the accused believer was formally charged, and the case adjourned.