By Kamran Chaudhry
Kinza Emmanuel was on the doorstep of her home when four of her family members were gunned down in a Christian colony of southern Pakistan.
“We were going to eat ice cream and my mother and three uncles were already inside the tuk-tuk. Suddenly two men, whose faces were covered in a white cloth, riding a motorcycle arrived in our street,” the 16-year-old Catholic told ucanews.com
“After taking a turn, they opened fire at us. I rushed my siblings inside and locked the gates. My father ran outside but they had died. We could not do anything.”
The attack happened on April 2 in the Shah Zaman area of Quetta, the capital of restive Balochistan province.
The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency.
Kinza was visiting her relatives in Quetta when the attack happened. Her uncle, the tuk-tuk driver, was buried on April 3 in Quetta. The bodies of her mother and two uncles, aged 30 and 26, were flown to Lahore and buried in Gharyal Kalan village.
More than 300 worshippers attended a memorial service on April 8 in Lahore. Prayers were also offered for the conversion of the hearts of terrorists in Pakistan.
A delegation from the Pakistan Christian Action Committee (PCAC), an ecumenical advocacy group for persecuted Christians, expressed solidarity with the family.
In his address, Reverend Amjad Niamat, the PCAC convenor, assured the family of the support of bishops. “Both Catholic and Protestant church leaders are very much concerned for your safety. We are holding regular meetings and protests to demand justice. Pray for our unity,” he said.
According to the PCAC, this was the third targeted killing of Christians in Quetta.
Hendry Masih, a member of the Balochistan Assembly, was shot dead by his security guard in June 2014.
The province, near the Iranian border, has also witnessed increasing attacks on the ethnically distinct Persian-speaking Hazara minority.
Pastor Riaz Malik of Isaac TV, the first Christian satellite television based in Pakistan, claims the latest attack was originally planned on a church in Quetta.
“The investigating agencies claim the terrorists, failing to find a chance, opted for a soft target. We were encouraged by the presence of several Muslim villagers at the funeral of Catholics,” he said.
Kinza and her two younger siblings resumed their schooling on April 9.
“I am trying to be strong for them. We often cry at nights. We were visiting Quetta for the first time to seek a marriage proposal for my uncle from Dubai. I shall never forget this Easter vacation,” Kinza said.