By Jawad Mazhar, Worthy News Special Correspondent reporting from Joharabad, Pakistan
JOHARABAD, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)-- A Pakistani court has ordered police to protect a recently married Christian woman and her Muslim husband after they apparently received death threats from Islamic relatives opposing their interfaith relationship.
A local court in Khushab District in Pakistan's Punjab province also issued "directives to provide security" to the newly wed couple and "arrest" the suspects, Worthy News learned Saturday April 3.
Shahnaz Bibi, 23, told Worthy News and its partner agency BosNewsLife that she and her husband, Muhammad Imran, had asked the court to intervene because relatives did not accept their decision to marry and respect each other's faith.
Speaking at their home in the town of Joharabad, Bibi said her father-in-law and other Muslim relatives threatened to kill her if she would remain a Christian.
"My Muslim father-in-law and his Muslim accomplices became enemies of our marital life”, Bibi added. "I made clear to them I would neither recant Christianity nor leave my beloved husband."
Muhammad Imran said police protection was urgently needed. "My father will not harm me but surely will kill Shahnaz for her refusal to embrace Islam."
Imran stressed he does not want his wife to become a Muslim. "When we married last year in July we decided that each one of us would be free to live, follow and worship according to his or her faith," he said.
"We are very happy together and will not separate whatever comes our way."
Christians are a tiny minority in Pakistan, a heavily Islamic nation of some 175 million people.