Quetta (Agenzia Fides) - "It is sad to see that once again our people are attacked and killed on the occasion of one of our religious festivities. First the bomb at Christmas and now a massacre of the innocents at Easter. I am praying for the persons involved and I pray that God will convert the hearts of those responsible for such acts of terrorism": Fides was told by rev Wajid Michael, a Catholic priest who said Mass at the funeral of Pervaiz Masih, one of his parishioners killed in Quetta, capital of Beluchistan province, on Monday 2 April. Four men all members of the same Christian family were shot dead in front of their home in Pervaiz Masih, Shah Zaman district, Quetta, and one young girl, the daughter of Pervaiz, was wounded. Three, all relations of Pervaiz, were from a village near Lahore, in Punjab, and the bodies were taken back for the funeral and burial. Pervaiz instead was buried in the Christian cemetery of Quetta.
Rev. Wajid Michael tells Fides: "It is terrible to know that a family was massacred in front of the gate of the family home. The massacre occurred just as the family were preparing for an outing. Protection and safety for minorities has become an important issue for the government of Pakistan: all the different religious minorities Christians, Hindu, Shiite and also many Muslims sects face discrimination, violence and terrorism", says the parish priest.
Over three hundred Christians attended the funeral yesterday of Masih, who had invited his relations from Lahore to celebrate Easter in Shah Zaman, a mainly Christian district of Quetta. A neighbour told Fides: "Two men on a motorbike opened fire on the family seated in a rickshaw. Four adults, Pervaiz Masih, Tariq Masih, Imran Masih and Firdous Bibi were killed, the daughter of Pervaiz Masih was injured and taken to hospital"
Azeem, a local catechist says: "Most of the homes on that road belong to Christian families; the street is a dead end. The attackers opened fire and then turned back on the same road. The whole area is gripped by fear, and the other members of the family are in a state of shock. This is a grave loss for the family of Pervaiz Masih because he looked after them all and provided for them. The other three were relations visiting Quetta for the first time ".
According to local information, the so-called Islamic State (DAESH) claimed responsibility for the attack but failed to provide to evidence. Other observers speak of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan terrorist group (TTP), active in the area. Moazzam Jah Ansari, a local police chief said: "This act of terrorism would appear to be a targeted attack".
In December 2017, the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta was attacked by two suicide bombers on the third Sunday of Advent, when 14 people were killed and 56 injured. (AG) (Agenzia Fides 4/4/2018)