Roshan Masih, a 45 year old Christian man, was shot dead after an argument over religion in Lahore, capital of Punjab Province in Pakistan.
The Christian community is devastated and frightened by the episode. Roshan had defended his faith in an argument with a local Muslim man. Roshan had converted from Hinduism to Christianity, settling in Lahore about 20 years ago. Following an argument with Sohail Akhtar, a Muslim, in which he reportedly defended Christian doctrines, Roshan was sitting outside a shop owned by a fellow Christian.
Finding his opportunity, according to the Fides news service, Akhtar shot Roshan dead with an assault rifle on February 16. The case was reported to the "Legal Evangelical Association Development" (LEAD), which in turn filed an official First Information Report with the police, accusing Sohail Akhtar of premeditated murder.
The assassin was arrested and taken into custody by the local police, who are now conducting an investigation. The case is expected to go to court.
"This is truly a tragedy: an innocent man is slain for defending his faith in a simple argument. The episode is emblematic of the conditions of Pakistani Christians. The authorities have a duty to guarantee the basic rights of Christian minorities", said LEAD attorney Sardar Mushtaq Gill. Lead is a nonprofit organization that defends the rights of Pakistan's minority groups, such as Christians and Hindus.