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Pakistani police arrest suspects over Christian's murder

Rights advocates express deep concern over the escalation of violence against religious minorities

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Pakistani police arrest suspects over Christian's murder

Peshawar police with Salman Khan and Suleman Khan, who are accused of killing Nadeem Joseph for renting a house in their neighborhood. (Photo supplied)

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Police in Peshawar city of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have arrested two brothers accused of killing their Christian neighbor for renting a house in a Muslim neighborhood.

Salman Khan and Suleman Khan were seized from Bara subdistrict of the Khyber tribal district on the evening of Sept. 16 following the cancellation of their pre-arrest bail petition.

On June 2, drug dealer Salman Khan allegedly shot Nadeem Joseph with an AK-47 automatic rifle in TV Colony of Peshawar. In a video message, Khan confessed to shooting the 48-year-old Christian.

“My team has been able to arrest Salman and Suleman (brothers) accused in the murder of Nadeem Joseph (Christian) in a gruesome shooting incident in the area of Pishtakhara, Peshawar, over a petty issue that took place a couple of months back. They were absconders and had been in hiding,” stated police officer Hassan Jahangir Wattoo in Sept. 16 tweet.

Human rights activists compared Joseph to George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis in May as a white police officer placed a knee on his neck. Lahore-based Voice Society has been providing legal aid to Joseph's widow, who is living in hiding with two children.

“Pakistani Christian lives matter,” stated Pastor Inayat Masih of United Mehtodist Church on his Facebook page.

“We had been threatened to either accept blood money, kidnapping or more murders. We rejected calls from jirga [local tribal meeting]. His widow only demands justice,” Suleman Javed, the victim's nephew, told UCA News.

In July, an American citizen and a former member of the Ahmadi community, Tahir Naseem, was killed inside a court in Peshawar's Judicial Complex during a hearing for alleged blasphemy, a capital crime in the Islamic republic.

On Aug. 11, National Minorities Day, speakers expressed deep concern over the escalation of violence against religious minorities and the institutionalization of religious and sectarian intolerance.

On Aug. 12, an Ahmadi named Mairaj Ahmad was shot dead by unknown assailants as he closed his pharmacy in Peshawar.

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