Muslim gunmen kill 14-year-old Christian boy in Pakistan

By Christian Daily International / Morning Star News |
Sunil Masih, 14, was killed on Feb. 5, 2024 in Gujranwala District, Pakistan.
Sunil Masih, 14, was killed on Feb. 5, 2024 in Gujranwala District, Pakistan. | (Christian Daily International-Morning Star News screenshot)

Muslim gunmen shouting threats against Christians shot a 14-year-old Christian dead on Monday (Feb. 5) in Pakistan, sources said.

Sunil Masih and other Christians were standing in a market in the Mandiala Warraich area of Gujranwala District, Punjab Province, on Monday evening when six Muslim men armed with pistols arrived on motorcycles and opened fire on them, said the slain boy’s uncle, Mehboob Gill.

“We were talking to each other when suddenly Zaman Butt and his accomplices Anas Yaseen, Adil Abdul Rehman, Ashraf Inayat Ullah and two unidentified men came there on motorcycles,” Gill said. “Adil shouted that no Christian in the area should be left alive, after which Zaman opened fire on Sunil with his pistol, hitting him in the chest.”

Yaseen shot at another Christian boy, identified only as Jamshed, with the bullet only grazing him, Gill said.

“The other assailants also opened fire on us with their weapons, but we managed to save ourselves by taking cover of a wall,” Gill stated in the First Information Report (FIR No. 226/24) registered with the Gujranwala Cantt Police Station.

The gunmen fled the scene while hurling threats at the Christians and so far have not been arrested.

“We rushed Sunil to a local hospital, but he succumbed to his bullet wound before doctors could begin their treatment,” Gill said, adding that his nephew was an eighth-grade student whose father, George Masih, works at a local car shop.  

The Rev. Numan Matto of the Gondalanwala Presbyterian Church in Gujranwala said the murder was religiously motivated.

“In May 2023, some Muslim youths disrupted a marriage ceremony of Christians and also attacked a church,” Matto told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “However, police and the district administration did not take any action against the influential accused, despite several protests by the Christian community.”

Between 400 to 450 Christians have lived in the area peaceably for decades, but recently the environment has turned hostile toward religious minorities, he said.

“If the police had taken stern action against the accused involved in the attack on the church last year, our young child would not have died at the hands of these criminals,” Matto said.

Fearing more attacks, he urged senior police and district administration officials to ensure the protection of the area’s Christians.

“Sunil’s murderers are at large, and the audacity of their attack shows that they will not hesitate to strike again,” he said. “The police will be responsible for any more loss of life of Christians if they do not take adequate security measures.”

The killing of Sunil was the second deadly attack in Punjab Province in three months.

On Nov. 9, a 20-year-old Christian medical technician student, Farhan Ul Qamar, was shot to death by a Muslim in his house in Talwandi Inayat Khan village, Pasrur tehsil of Sialkot District, Punjab Province, in the presence of family members.

The slain Christian’s father, Noor Ul Qamar, said the killer, Muhammad Zubair, showed hatred for Christians and Jews, mistakenly referring to the family as Jews as he ranted at them.

Zubair held the family hostage at gunpoint for nearly 40 minutes, refusing to let them go near their fatally injured son, Ul Qamar said.

“My son was struggling for his life, bleeding profusely from the bullet wounds, but his murderer, Muhammad Zubair, did not allow us to even give him some water, let alone comfort him,” Ul Qamar said at the time. “He repeatedly called us ‘Jews’ as he cursed and waved his weapon at us. We all watched helplessly, pleading with him to leave, but he wouldn’t go.”

Farhan Ul Qamar was the youngest of four children. Zubair was arrested hours later from his house, where he was sleeping peacefully.

Pakistan ranked seventh on Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List of the most difficult places to be a Christian, as it was the previous year.