Our vision is to create a network of Pakistanis united in Christ, focused on better quality of life, fellowship and religious freedom for Christians in Pakistan and the UK.
A heavy police containment team were present at the sombre funeral held for Zubair Rashid Masih on Monday. Around 50 people showed their respects for the young 20 year old man, who had been killed in a police cell after his mother Aysha Bibi was falsely accused of stealing gold ornaments in excess of 100 grams and 35,000 pak rupees.
The value of the stolen items is the equivalent of over half the annual salary of a whole family of deprived Christians in Pakistan. Many key humanitarians, are questioning the lack of evidence yet brutal treatment of the mother and her son by the mother's employer and local police at IqbalTown. Alison Houghton, lead researcher for the BPCA said;
"It is incredulous to think a regular long-standing cleaner would have the audacity to steal such valuable items and money, from a favoured employer. Moreover, how would they spend their new found wealth without being noticed by the local community or sell on the gold ornaments without any record?"
She added; "Not one person questioned by local police has provided evidence that could incriminate the victims."
Questions are being asked about the death of the son of Aysha Bibi. His death whilst in custody is the third incident of a Christian being killed in a prison cell by alleged police brutality, since our inception. Robert Danish was the first reported incident - killed September 15th 2009 (click here). We later reported the death of Qamar David in similar circumstances - killed 15th March 2011 (click here).
In both previous cases police refused to investigate police brutality and alleged that the two men had committed suicide. Sadly in both previous cases judges felt there was not enough evidence to support any action against the perpetrators of the torture and all the Police implicated in the violence were exonerated.
Police reluctance to lodge a police complaint known in Pakistan as a "First Incident report"
(FIR) led to a mass protest on the main road in front of the local Police station at Iqbal Town. This led to negotiations between local humanitarian NGO's and the Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Dr. Haider Ashraf, Iqbal Town Superintendent of Police (Investigation) Ejaz Doggar and Superintendent of Police (City) Iqbal Khan.
An FIR has been lodged which we attach at the bottom of this article for your perusal.
The BPCA believe it is hardly likely that justice will prevail, as justice against the police force is rare and in our annals we have no records of Christians taking on the police and winning. Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the BPCA, said;
"It is hard to hold any hope for justice for inconsolable mother Aysha Bibi. Her son's life was taken away in such a brutal fashion, despite Aysha professing her innocence and lack of any real evidence."
he added; "The brutal attack was initiated by her former employers, who took the law in their own hands yet no action as of yet is being taken against them. We are hoping to provide legal cover for the mother through our resources and have asked
for our officer Shamim Masih to arrange this with the mother today.
Pakistan ratified Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2010, but despite this legal framework,
Pakistan is bereft of any penalties for torture. Legislation has been drafted and needs to be ratified through parliament, however many key legal experts believe that the draft law is full of loopholes that do not fit well with the convention.
Mushtaq Gill from our partner group, Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD), said;
"To date no arrests have been made
of the police culprits. The laws of the country do not allow for easy convictions for torture by police, and I am sad to say it will be extremely hard to gain justice for the mother."
We have initiated a fund to
fight for justice for this mother. We also intend to contribute towards the funeral cost of her son.