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Murad Khan

Dispatches from persecution: Evangelist killed in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan, November 18 – An evangelist was shot dead here on Wednesday (Nov. 16) by an unidentified gunman in what his family believes was a radical Muslim group’s targeting of a Christian. Zahid Jameel, 25, told Compass that his father, Jameel Saawan, and a helper were opening the doors of their cosmetics shop in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area of Pakistan’s commercial hub of Karachi on Wednesday morning when a young man appeared and shot Jameel's father, first in the neck and then in the face. The assassin fled on a motorcycle on which two people were waiting, keeping watch for him, Jameel said. “We firmly believe that my father was killed because of his preaching of the Bible, because there is no other reason,” Jameel said. His father had not spoken of any threats on his life in recent weeks, though he had received threats after voicing his desire to start a welfare organization for poor Christians in the Essanagri area of Karachi two years ago, Jameel said. “That could not materialize after he started receiving threats from some unknown forces,” Jameel said. “We do not know who threatened him, but my mother persuaded him not to put his life in danger, for our sake.” Nevertheless, Jameel said that his father continued to preach and was widely respected for being a vocal supporter of the Christian community. “We live in a rented apartment and our shops are also on lease – we don’t have any property, and no enemies, which is why we are shocked by our father’s killing,” he said. “It wasn’t a robbery, because the assassin only walked towards my father and shot at him.” Zahid said that his mother was in a state of shock, as were his three sisters and older brother, Shahid. “Our father has been gunned down for no reason at all,” Jameel said. “He… Read More