Christian community puts forth grievances regarding recent 'raids' in meeting with Karachi police

Published May 18, 2018
Karachi police in talks with members of the Christian community. —Photo provided by author
Karachi police in talks with members of the Christian community. —Photo provided by author

Representatives of the Christian community met with police officers at the Karachi District Inspector General East's office on Friday and informed them about their reservations regarding recent "raids" in the Youhanabad neighbourhood, DawnNewsTV reported.

Murtaza Bhutto, the Superintendent of Police in Gulshan, acted as the focal person for the discussions which took place today. Father Saleh Diego, Parish Priest at St Paul Parish, represented the community.

Residents of Youhanabad Christian Colony, located in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Block 13-G, have been protesting against the mysterious disappearances of young Christian men.

The affected families allege that within the span of a few weeks, 24 young Christians were picked up from the neighbourhood by the police.

During the course of the discussion, the community representatives expressed disappointment that the matter has seen no resolution.

According to the residents of the neighbourhood in question, these men who appear to be security officials, show up wearing masks in the dead of the night, riding in cars without licence plates. They break down doors across the neighbourhood and enter homes with reckless abandon.

The families allege that these "raids" started taking place since March 30 when six young men were taken away. On April 15, four youth were arrested and on May 8, 14 youngsters were made to disappear.

The affected families said that the 14 young men who were arrested on the night of May 8 are still missing.

"First they asked my husband's name and demanded to see his identity card. Then they beat him up and dragged him away," a woman complained during the meeting.

She revealed that her husband is a dental technician and holds a Bachelors of Commerce degree. He had recently applied for admission to a Master's programme. The day he was taken away, he had appeared in an interview at a call centre.

Another affected family said that on April 15, these "officers" broke into their home, using cutters on the locks.

"They sent someone pictures of our four sons over Whatsapp and upon "verification" took two of the boys away with them," a member of the family said, adding that they have managed to obtain bail for one of the boys.

The young man released on bail said that he was kept blindfolded and transported to some location at SITE area.

"They beat me and subjected me to electrical torture for three days. They kept asking me to do exactly as they say. They constantly kept asking me about different people, encounters and weapons," he said during the discussion.

He was taken away on April 15 and on April 20 a false case was registered against him.

Another family complained that their son and nephew were also forcibly taken away.

A man from an affected family said his two brothers have also been taken away by "officers". One of the brothers is an electrician while the other is a Matric student.

The day the man's brothers were taken away, the Matric student had an exam which he could not appear in. The boy does not even have an identity card owing to his young age.

The man expressing his vexation over the situation said that it was no better than "the law of the jungle where people were picked up at the officers' whims and there was no telling as to the whereabouts of any of the missing men".

He said that while his brothers were being taken away he questioned one of the "officers".

"Why are you taking my brothers? Where are you taking them?" he had asked.

"You will be given a call," came the reply.

The man said that if someone has committed a criminal act then he deserves punishment but this was no way to treat anyone.

"We live and die every day. Youngsters are afraid and can no longer sleep for fear of being taken away," he lamented.

The Christian community representatives said that the men raiding their homes bring a criminal named Shiraz with them who "identifies" the youngsters subsequently taken away.

The community members asserted that the men who were taken away had no association with any political parties and had no criminal backgrounds.

Some of the missing men were released after four to five days but then falsely accused in new cases.

The six young men who were taken away on March 30, were falsely implicated in crimes. They were subsequently jailed on April 20. Some of them are currently out on bail.

The community members have filed an official complaint with IG Sindh and other notable figures. An FIR was also filed on behalf of the community.

The community members requested that they be informed if the arrest of a criminal is to take place. They assured they will extend the police all possible cooperation and assistance.

The affected families have also reached out to the court in protest over the boys' mysterious disappearances.



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