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Pakistan

Freed Pakistani Christians face uncertain future

Churches in Youhanabad offer thanksgiving prayers for the newly released faithful

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Freed Pakistani Christians face uncertain future

Sunil Shehzad (right) with his father at his home in Youhanabad, Lahore, on Feb. 5. (Photo: Kamran Chaudhry)

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Sunil Shehzad was tortured in police detention for wearing a rosary.

“They wanted to take it off. When I refused, the policemen started abusing and slapping my back and head. I took the beating in the name of Jesus. I knew the rosary would save me from this hell,” Shehzad told UCA News.

The Catholic driver was one of 41 Christians arrested in 2015 for the murder of two Muslims wrongly suspected of carrying out church bombings in the area of Youhanabad on the outskirts of Lahore. Translated as "John's Land,” the low-income district is home to about 150,000 Christians.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, an offshoot of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack during Sunday Mass that killed 15 Christians including women and children. The suicide bombings left more than 70 wounded.

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