Several people were wounded following an attack on a Christian community by armed Muslims in Lahore, Pakistan.
The suspects were identified as Dilshad Dogar, Butt Gas Wala and Chand Khencha.
Speaking to the Morning Star News, Asif Masih, who was also injured in the incident, stated that the men attacked the church before turning to the homes of believers using automatic rifles.
"When I was telling my kids to get inside, I saw a group of heavily armed men firing indiscriminately at a church located on the street. They then trained their weapons on the homes of neighboring Christians and fired volleys of bullets at them," he said.
Three women, alongside several other believers, were injured in the attack.
"One of the injured women is six months pregnant. She was hit in the leg by one of the several bullets fired at their gate, but fortunately her family members were able to secure her inside," Masih added.
The shooting began at 2:30 p.m. and people immediately called the police after the incident but the officers only responded by 8 p.m. Masih revealed that the authorities were reluctant to confront the suspects since they are influential people.
Further, he shared that the police did not indicate in the First Information Report (FIR) that the attack was an act of terrorism. The suspects' threat of burning down the church and harming the Christians was also not included in the report.
Instead, the police provided a faulty statement in the FIR, stating that the incident was caused by a dispute between Asghar Masih, a Christian, and Dogar.
Attorney Javed Gill of the Christian Lawyers Association of Pakistan told the news outlet that residents were giving different statements about the shooting's motives.
"Nonetheless, even if it was a dispute between two people, how can anyone justify the targeting of the entire Christian neighborhood with automatic weapons?" he argued.
The lawyer also questioned the exclusion of terrorism in the report, as well as the inability of the police to respond timely.
When Muhammad Azeem of the Sherakot police station was asked about the incident, he only mentioned about the arrest of the suspects, as well as the ongoing raids to find the other assailants. But he did not comment on other questions, such as the officers' protection of the accused, their delayed response on the incident and the exclusion of anti-terrorism section in the FIR.
The officer was also questioned why the threat made against the Christians was not included in the report but he replied that they wanted to know "the bottom of the issue" since the preliminary investigation showed that the incident started with a personal dispute.
Declaring that the Christians are their "brothers" and are willing to protect them, Azeem claimed that the incident was not relative to "religious issue" as the believers contended.
Pakistan ranks as the fifth worst nation in the world for Christians. 98% of the population are Muslims and the 4.1 million believers are regularly facing "extreme persecution" because of their faith.
With the country's blasphemy laws, Christians are also at risk of being severely punished for simply preaching the Gospel since speaking against Islam, Muhammad or the Quran is regarded as blasphemous.