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Pakistan: Christian human rights activists ‘briefly detained, tortured’ by police in Faisalabad

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For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Pakistan, see here.

“Christian human rights activists ‘briefly detained, tortured’ by police in Faisalabad,” by Imran Gabol, Dawn, September 23, 2023:

Two human rights activists visiting Faisalabad from Karachi were 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 series of posts on X, formerly Twitter.

In a post about what he dubbed “extremely alarming and condemnable action by Punjab police”, Nasir said two prominent human rights activists from Karachi, Pastor Ghazala Shafique and Luke Victor, were visiting Faisalabad to help Reverend Father Eleazar Sidhu.

Christian priest Sidhu was shot at and injured on September 3, according to the first information report (FIR) of the incident available with Dawn.com. The FIR stated that Sidhu — who served at Myong-Sang Naserth church in Jaranwala tehsil — was returning home from the church in the evening when an unidentified bearded man shot and injured him.

The FIR also mentioned that he was leading prayers in the church on August 28 when someone wrote objectionable religious slogans against him on the outer wall of the church, which were whitewashed by police on his complaint.

A few days prior to the alleged incident, when he went to drop his son off at school, a few bearded people threatened him, saying, “As our written slogans have been deleted from the wall of the church, soon you will also be deleted,” the FIR said.

According to Nasir’s posts on social media, Sidhu was arrested, “unlawfully kept captive by local police and subjected [to] torture, being forced to state that the deadly attack on him after the Jaranwala incident was self-inflicted”.

He alleged that Sidhu was forced into giving a statement that he “shot himself so real culprits could remain safe”….

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