*Please note: The following story contains graphic content that may be sensitive for some readers.
The evidence suggests that a group of four men assaulted Shazia. In a cruel act of torture, they also poured acid on her before taking her life. Only one of the four perpetrators was found and arrested; Noman Gujjar Alias Mani, a Muslim man, confessed to the crime.
Zafar Masih, Shazia’s brother, says the police have changed their statements. “I met the police superintendent on July 4, and he told me Mani confessed … He now claims that nobody else was involved.”
The details of the investigation have become murky. “It has been a month since Shazia was brutally killed, and we, her closest family, don’t even know what exactly happened to her. The police have not shared details of their investigations with us,” says Zafar.
What the family knows for certain is that she never came home from work the night of June 6. She worked from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Video footage shows that one of the four perpetrators, Mani, picked her up from the university. Shazia’s brother explained that Mani would give Shazia rides home when her oldest son wasn’t available, and that Mani personally knew Shazia because she had delivered milk to Mani’s house for over 4 years.
When Shazia didn’t return home that night, her oldest son contacted his uncle and they searched for her. The following morning, the police discovered her body and needed someone to identify her. “When we saw the pictures, we recognized her. We felt that the ground slipped out from beneath our feet,” a devastated Zafar shares.
Both Shazia’s mother and son said that Mani would consistently contact Shazia and pressure her to remarry. He would also coerce Shazia and her three children to convert to Islam—a pressure that many persecuted Christians in Pakistan face, given that they are a small religious minority in a nation that is 96% Muslim.
The family also believes that Shazia’s husband’s death, which occurred 16 months ago, was not an accident—they feel it was an intentional act to make a way for Mani to marry Shazia. And now, Zafar has doubts about justice for his sister’s death because they didn’t receive justice after the death of Shazia’s husband.
Mani is an affluent and powerful Muslim man with a network of people that stand by him. Shazia’s mother says that, since her daughter’s death, ominous men drive around their house on motorcycles, intimidating them with rifles. “They are threatening that they will abduct Shazia’s children. What do I do? Where do I hide the children?” she cries. The three children are orphaned and traumatized by the deaths of their parents; the youngest is only five-years-old.
This horrendous crime against our sister in Christ is utterly heartbreaking. But even in the face of evil acts, we know God judges justly and will bring justice in eternity. In 1 Peter 2:23, it says, “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.”
Please join together with the Body of Christ as we collectively pray for this situation.
Lord Jesus, we lift up Shazia’s children and the rest of her family to Your glorious throne. We ask that You would protect these persecuted Christians in Pakistan from further harm. Comfort Shazia’s mother, her brother and her uncle as they mourn. Heal the trauma and pain they have endured. Help them to forgive. Let Your favor and blessings rest upon them all. Put an end to the threats against their faithful family.
We pray for the people that attacked Shazia, that You would give them a fear of You, Lord, and that You would draw them to repentance and salvation. Let justice be done. Open the hearts and eyes of the police and government to do what is righteous in Your sight for all persecuted Christians in Pakistan. Amen.
Learn More About Christian Persecution in Pakistan
Access Global Christian Relief’s Persecution Report for Pakistan and read about the history of Christianity in this South Asian nation. Plus, learn about the current state of affairs for the persecuted church.
About The Author
Abigail Hart is a staff writer for Global Christian Relief, a nonprofit Christian ministry that works to strengthen persecuted believers and raise awareness regarding Christian persecution. For more information, visit our website at GlobalChristianRelief.org.