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“Family of Slain Christian in Pakistan Receives Death Threats,” Morning Star News, April 3, 2024:

LAHORE, Pakistan (Christian Daily International–Morning Star News) – Muslim relatives of the alleged killer of a 20-year-old Christian in Pakistan are threatening the victim’s family with death if they do not drop charges, sources said.

Muhammad Zubair initially confessed to killing Farhan Ul Qamar in his house in Talwandi Inayat Khan village, Pasrur tehsil of Sialkot District, Punjab Province, shooting him in the presence of the Christian’s family members on Nov. 9, 2023. He later retracted his confession in court.

The victim’s father, Noor Ul Qamar, said that on the evening of March 18, his family was busy in their routine chores when six armed Muslims led by the alleged killer’s father, Afzal Bajwa, intruded into their house and held them all at gunpoint.

“The intruders threatened us that if we do not stop pursuing the case and reach a settlement with them to free Zubair from prison, they would kill us all,” Ul Qamar told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News.

The armed Muslims were present in their house when one of Ul Qamar’s brothers, a pastor who lives in the neighborhood, called police, he said.

“God knows what would have happened to us if the police hadn’t come on time and took the intruders into custody,” Ul Qamar said. “I filed an application for the registration of a case against them, but instead the police released the men after a few hours.”

The head of the police station told him that he had let the armed Muslims off with a warning to not intimidate the family again, Ul Qamar said.

“The accused’s family has a criminal background and are also politically influential, which is perhaps why the police did not take any legal action against them,” he said.

Area residents have advised him not press charges regarding the armed break-in and death threat as it could endanger his family, he said.

“Zubair’s family started threatening me to withdraw the case a couple of months after they saw that the hype around the murder had settled down,” Ul Qamar told Christian Daily International-Morning Star News. “They first sent reconciliatory messages through different people, but when we refused, their tone became more aggressive, and they threatened to kill me if I did not surrender to their demand.”

On the night of the killing, Zubair showed hatred for Christians and Jews, mistakenly referring to the family as Jews as he ranted at them before killing Farhan Ul Qamar, family members said. Police arrested Zubair from his home a few hours later, and while in police custody he confessed to killing the Christian. He is awaiting trial in Sialkot District Jail.

Though shaken, the family is determined to pursue justice for the killer, Ul Qamar said….