In an attack on 15 April in Quetta four men on two motorbikes opened fire into a group of Christians in the Christian-majority neighborhood of Essa Nagri.

Two Christians, Azhar Iqbal and Rahid Khalid, were killed and two girls and one adult were admitted to hospital in critical condition.

After the attack dozens of Christian community members, including relatives of the victims, gathered to protest the killings. They burnt tyres, suspended the traffic and chanted slogans against the provincial government, as it was the second such attack on Christians in Quetta this month. The police said searches were ongoing in the area to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack.

Two weeks ago in another attack, four Christians were targeted and killed by Islamic State in the same city. In December, during the Christmas season, two suicide bombers attacked a packed Bethel Memorial Methodist Church where at least eight Christians were killed and 57 injured.

The Islamic State (IS) extremist group claimed responsibility for the recent attack outside a church.

Nasir Saeed, Director of CLAAS-UK has expressed his grave concern over the recent wave of targeting Christians in Quetta.

He said: “In December last year, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Quetta Church, which was packed with worshippers, killing many and wounding many more. Earlier this month on the 2nd day of Easter, a Christian family of five members was traveling in a rickshaw when an unidentified men suddenly opened fire, killing four of them and injuring a minor girl.

“Now another brutal targeted killing of two Christians is very worrisome. Christians who are already living under constant attack and fear of life are much more concerned about their future as the government has failed to protect and ensure the security to Christians in Pakistan.

“Christians are the most peaceful community in Pakistan but they have been under attack for decades for no reason. It is the government’s responsibility to take serious notice of this dangerous emerging trend, properly investigate all these incidents and take all necessary action to stop the ongoing attacks and ongoing targeted killing of innocent Christians in Pakistan. It must also ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to justice and the government should take effective steps against religious persecution.”