LAHORE, Pakistan (Christian Examiner) – Nadia Masih, 23, and her husband Aleem, 28, fled from Nadia's family in Lahore when they threatened her for leaving Islam. The family pursued the couple, beat and fatally shot Aleem, and shot Nadia and left her for dead.
According to attorney Aneeqa Maria of The Voice Society, "The couple fled to Narang Mandi, some [37 miles] away from Lahore, as Nadia's Muslim family launched a manhunt for them to avenge the shame their daughter had brought upon them by recanting Islam and marrying a Christian."
The family desired to avenge the humiliation that Nadia had brought upon their family and religion by becoming a Christian. After threatening the couple, they overtook the Masihs on the road to Narang Mandi.
"The Muslim men first brutally tortured the couple with fists and kicks and then thrice shot Aleem Masih – one bullet hit him in his ankle, the second in the ribs while the third targeted his face," Maria told Morning Star News.
After shooting Nadia in the abdomen, the family left her for dead in the barn where the torture had occurred.
But Nadia was discovered still alive when police, alerted by Nadia's brother Azhar, who proudly confessed to the crime at the police station, went searching for the bodies.
NADIA IS STILL ALIVE
Nadia's family apparently pursued the husband and wife, who were fleeing the family's threats of bodily harm. Male family members, including Azhar and allegedly Nadia's father, kidnapped the couple when they found them.
They forced Nadia and Aleem into a nearby barn and beat and kicked them before shooting them.
When police discovered Nadia was still breathing, the young woman was taken to a hospital in Lahore, where she underwent surgery to remove the bullet.
Demonstrations by Muslims supporting the persecution of Christians have taken place outside the hospital and police station. Maria described the crowd that had gathered when she went to visit Nadia: "The mob, some of them armed with weapons, was shouting furious anti-Christian slogans."
Muslim community members have praised Azhar for killing his brother-in-law, whom they consider an infidel. Police have registered a case against Azhar and other male family members but have not taken them into custody. Instead, they were granted pre-arrest bail.
The Voice Society reports that Muslims make up about 97 percent of Pakistan's population, while minority Christians are subject to harsh blasphemy laws that are used to aid in their persecution. Islamic Sharia law, under which blasphemy can be punishable by death, is the mandatory law of the nation.
Maria and other Voice Society attorneys intend to prosecute Nadia's family on behalf of Nadia and Aleem's family.
Maria has been threatened to drop the case but refuses. "Murder in the name of religion and honor must not be allowed," she said, "and the perpetrators should be held accountable for this brutal act."