Liaqat Masih, who worked as the driver for Raza Hameed, the son of Gujranwala politician SA Hameed, was arrested on November 15, 2015 following accusations of theft. Raza Hameed is the son of Mohammad SA Hameed who is a local leader of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf PTI led by Imran Khan and known as a very wealthy and influential politician among Muslim elite circles of district Gujranwala.
Although Raza Hameed had initially lodged the complaint against unknown perpetrators, he later registered a case against Liaqat Masih after becoming suspicious of him. The police arrested Masih’s son Khurram Sunil on 27 December 2015.
Masih was held in judicial remand at Gujuranwala police station without evidence or trial until 10 January 2016, when the police claimed that they had new evidence which allowed them to proceed with his case. His family was uncertain of his location for four days before they heard that he was being held in a private torture cell in Gujranwala Cantt police station.
On 8 January, Khurram Sunil was released on bail until 19 January, however he was rearrested on 10 January and named as an accomplice in the theft.
Liaquat Masih died in police custody on 14 January. Although the police postmortem states that he died of a heart attack, his son claims that his father was brutally beaten on the night that he died and sustained fatal injuries after being hung upside down by a rope. On the 15th, police released his body to the family, but withheld a copy of the autopsy.
Pakistan Christian Post reported,
Mohammad Raza Hameed lodged report against unknown thieves in Gujranwala Cantonment Police Station but later pressured police to arrest his driver Liaquat Masih who was serving him from last 15 years.
Influential Muslim employers often demand confessions in theft cases in their homes. According to sources, Liaquat Masih was murdered while police tortured him.
The relatives and other area Christians identified torture marks on Liaquat Masih’s body. They assembled in front of Gujranwala Cantonment Police Station and demanding to file a report against police who murdered Masih. The Gujranwala Cantonment Police instead charged and arrested 6 of the Christians protesting on disturbing peace. They claim the Christian man died of a heart attack.
Police also arrested Masih’s 20 yr. old son who also faced police torture in front of his father to force him to confess theft but his father claimed he was innocent. Read more
Proceedings must take place with a serious and full independent investigation to identify and punish those responsible for the Liaqat Masih’s death. The extrajudicial executions of Christians continues in Pakistan without serious action to prevent this extreme injustice. Pakistan must be held accountable for these crimes against humanity and human rights. Promises and words of good intent are not enough, action must be implemented without delay.