Two human rights activists visiting Faisalabad from Karachi had been allegedly briefly detained and tortured by police, it emerged on Saturday, following which police accused the duo of misbehaviour in its rebuttal.
The incident was raised by lawyer and rights activist Jibran Nasir on Friday in a collection of posts on X, previously Twitter.
In a put up about what he dubbed “extraordinarily alarming and condemnable motion by Punjab police”, Nasir stated two distinguished human rights activists from Karachi, Pastor Ghazala Shafique and Luke Victor, had been visiting Faisalabad to assist Reverend Father Eleazar Sidhu.
Christian priest Sidhu was shot at and injured on September 3, in line with the primary data report (FIR) of the incident out there with Dawn.com. The FIR acknowledged that Sidhu — who served at Myong-Sang Naserth church in Jaranwala tehsil — was returning house from the church in the night when an unidentified bearded man shot and injured him.
The FIR additionally talked about that he was main prayers in the church on August 28 when somebody wrote objectionable spiritual slogans in opposition to him on the outer wall of the church, which had been whitewashed by police on his criticism.
Just a few days previous to the alleged incident, when he went to drop his son off at college, a number of bearded folks threatened him, saying, “As our written slogans have been deleted from the wall of the church, quickly additionally, you will be deleted,” the FIR stated.
According to Nasir’s posts on social media, Sidhu was arrested, “unlawfully stored captive by native police and subjected [to] torture, being pressured to state that the lethal assault on him after the Jaranwala incident was self-inflicted”.
He alleged that Sidhu was pressured into giving an announcement that he “shot himself so actual culprits may stay protected”.
In a subsequent put up, he stated Pastor Ghazala Shafique had been launched however alleged that her telephone was withheld by police.
“She contacted her household from another person’s telephone,” he stated, including: “She revealed that the police put a black material on Luke Victor’s face and took him and Pastor Vicky (Sidhu) away beating them each.”
In a 3rd put up, Nasir alleged that police personnel at Saddar police station in Faisalabad had “badly overwhelmed up Luke Victor”.
Nasir went on to say: “The interim Punjab chief minister, the interim prime minister, and the incumbent chief justice of Pakistan all visited Jaranwala to assist victims. Luke did the identical, however he wasn’t highly effective and influential so Punjab police bought to torture him.
“Pastor Ghazala is afraid that if solely Luke is allowed to depart then police may torture and hurt Pastor Vicky additional.”
The Jaranwala incident referenced right here came about on August 16, throughout which a violent mob of lots of ransacked and torched practically two dozen church buildings and attacked the residences of members of the Christian neighborhood and the workplace of the native assistant commissioner in the world. As per police and native sources, the violence erupted after some locals alleged that a number of desecrated pages of the Holy Quran had been discovered close to a home at Cinema Chowk in Jaranwala, the place two Christian brothers resided.
In one more put up, Nasir shared a video of Victor saying: “Video manufactured from Luke Victor at Sadr Thana Faisalabad after his launch. He had bruises throughout his physique. His crime is to assist discover the reality about Pastor Eliezer alias Vicky’s case who bought shot a number of days after the Jaranwala incident.”
Victor may be seen with welts on his neck and face.
Nasir urged interim Punjab CM Mohsin Naqvi to launch an inquiry into the matter.
“It solely highlights how weak the Christian neighborhood is and the way they’re fully on the mercy of the state authorities. While Luke and Pastor Ghazala have been launched Pastor Vicky has been reportedly arrested by transposing him from complainant to accused in the very FIR Pastor Victor bought registered in opposition to the assault on him,” he wrote on X.
In the early hours of Saturday (right now), Nasir shared a video assertion by Pastor Ghazala Shafique on X, whereby she stated the clip was recorded in Saddar police station.
Shafique stated Sidhu had been detained and that he and Victor had been allegedly tortured by police. She additional claimed that her and Victor’s telephones, too, had been taken from them.
“Our solely demand is that if there’s any case in opposition to him (Sidhu), inform us about it,” she stated.
The timing of the video’s recording isn’t clear.
When Faisalabad City Police Officer Usman Akram Gondal was requested about Nasir’s allegations, he stated: “It is completely mistaken.”
The official claimed that Sidhu had shot himself in the course of the September 3 incident, saying that an FIR had been filed in opposition to him. “He has submitted a confessional assertion and is on remand,” CPO Gondal instructed Dawn.com.
As for Shafique and Victor, he stated: “The two reached there and had been making an attempt to get him (Sidhu) out of there. They misbehaved with [police] and threatened the SHO (station home officer). The police had no selection however to cease them.”
The police’s declare was reiterated in Sidhu’s termination letter issued by the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan (PCP) on September 13.
“This letter is to tell that as of September 13, 2023, you, Mr Eleazar Sidhu s/o Bashir Masih Sidhu … are not employed by the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan [henceforth referred to as PCP]. This determination is due to the info that got here to gentle throughout your dialog with a number of colleagues, associates, and relations concerning the incident of alleged capturing in your proper arm dated September 3, 2023, in which you voluntarily confessed that this was a self-inflicted harm and also you admitted to planning this complete act with none worry, duress or strain.
“While we’re refraining from leaping to any conclusions because the matter is
sub-judice, we reserve each proper to sever your employment and to chop off any skilled ties till the matter involves its logical conclusion,” the letter, a replica of which is on the market with Dawn.com, learn.
A press assertion issued by the PCP on the identical day, cited the findings of Sidhu’s first medical report and stated: “It was revealed that the harm was possible self-inflicted based mostly on the angle/trajectory of the bullet, naked minimal injury to pores and skin, harm and many others.”
The PCP additionally raised a number of questions concerning the September 3 incident based mostly on Sidhu’s “contradictory statements”.
The PCP referred to as on the “highest authorities”, together with all of the investigative companies, to deliver all of the info pertaining to the matter to gentle.
“Any individual can lie or make up tales. However, info and science don’t lie. We demand that one black sheep mustn’t spoil the fame of the entire flock. Not each pastor or Christian needs to use for asylum and depart his/her nation. We demand that an open, truthful and impartial investigation be carried out and if Mr Sidhu, as per his preliminary confession, circumstantial proof, witness corroboration, and contradictory statements concerning the entire incident is discovered responsible, he needs to be meted an exemplary punishment,” the PCP press assertion stated.
It additional stated the “organisation or the management can’t and should not be held liable for any ‘lone wolf’ or rogue actions of an worker that weren’t inside the scope of his employment nor in furtherance of his job description”.
Meanwhile, a video of Sidhu has surfaced, which in line with particulars collected by Dawn.com, was recorded two days in the past — after he was allegedly pressured into giving his confessional assertion.
In the video, a weeping Sidhu with a sling on his proper arm, is seen claiming 4 of his associates, together with a 15-12 months-outdated boy, had been detained by police and had been being persuaded into giving statements that his harm was self-inflicted.
He denies capturing himself and writing objectionable spiritual slogans on the church’s wall. Sidhu additional claims that he was tortured by police and three police personnel have been staying inside his home all day lengthy.
Sidhu additionally alleged that he was not supplied meals and water in police custody.