Civil society demands judicial inquiry into Christian man’s killing


LAHORE: Civil society groups, organisations, networks, individuals, human rights activists joined the Christian community of Pakistan at a protest demonstration held in Islamabad on Wednesday to express their outrage at the mysterious “death” of a 32-year old Christian Pakistani, Sabir Masih, in police custody on Tuesday.
Sabir Masih worked for the CDA and belonged to a poverty-stricken family living in a slum colony of Islamabad. He was picked up on suspicion of theft and locked up in the Kohsar police station on a three-day physical remand, from where his dead body was taken to the Federal Government Services (Poly Clinic) Hospital for post mortem. The police version is that he “committed suicide in the toilet, by hanging himself using his azaarband (waistband tie-string).  
The civil society groups have strongly reject this as a blatant mis-statement, saying it is physically not possible, in the given circumstances. A statement said, “We strongly condemn the killing and demand the following: a fresh third-party INDEPENDENT post mortem at a private hospital. We absolutely reject and condemn the police pressure on the victim’s family to immediately bury Sabir Masih’s body. We wonder WHY is there so much pressure from the ICT police.”
The statement called for an independent judicial inquiry, to include members of civil society and a representative of the Christian community of Pakistan, saying “we do NOT accept any inquiry to be carried out by the IGP/Islamabad and his police force on such grave charges and allegations against themselves. Already the IGP is promising to ‘reprimand’ those police personnel, if any are found guilty, according to press reports.
The civil society has demanded immediate arrest of the police personnel present at the Kohsar police station at the time of Sabir Masih’s killing, before they mysteriously “disappear”, fleeing from the law; and registration of the FIR for murder, under PPC Section 302, against all those Kohsar station police personnel, starting with the SHO. 

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