In a shocking and deeply troubling turn of events, Pastor Aleazar AKA Vicky, a dedicated religious leader, found himself at the center of a distressing episode that began with a harrowing attack and spiraled into a nightmarish ordeal of unjust detention, alleged torture, and legal battles.
The distressing sequence of events that unfolded, revealed a state system that failed to protect the rights and dignity of the beleaguered Christian Pastor in Pakistan.
On the evening of September 3rd, Pastor Vicky was returning home after visiting members of his church in his village. Just one kilometer away from his destination, he was confronted by an armed assailant, a bearded man. The attacker demanded that the pastor recite the Kalma (Muslim declaration of faith). When Pastor Vicky refused, he was shot in his right arm. Read more and watch videos (here).
In the aftermath of the attack, Pastor Vicky was rushed to Allied Hospital in Faisalabad, where he received medical treatment and was discharged on September 5th. However, instead of being treated as a victim, he was immediately detained by the police for further investigation. This detention would mark the beginning of a deeply troubling ordeal.
During his time in custody, Pastor Vicky reportedly faced severe mistreatment, including derogatory remarks and denial of basic necessities like water. His condition worsened due to his diabetic condition, resulting in two diabetic attacks during his detention.
During the course of the brutal investigation, Pastor Vicky allegedly confessed to shooting himself and planning the incident as a means to seek asylum abroad. It is important to note that such a confession, especially under duress and in the absence of concrete evidence, raises serious concerns about its authenticity.
Pastor Vicky stated, “I was called ‘Chura’ (a derogatory term used to refer to Christians in Pakistan) multiple times by the police officers. I asked them for water, but instead of receiving assistance, I was refused and subjected to verbal abuse.”
Through fear of retaliation, on September 13th, an employment termination letter was issued by Rev. Dr. Altaf Khan, declaring that Pastor Vicky was no longer employed by the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan. This termination was supposedly based on the unproven allegations against him, further compounding Pastor Vicky’s suffering.
Amid mounting concerns about the treatment of Pastor Vicky, Amir Shehzad, the plaintiff, filed a writ petition in the court of Choudhry Inam Ellahi, Additional Sessions Judge Faisalabad. The court responded by appointing a bailiff Mr Muhammad Shahid to secure Pastor Vicky’s release from illegal police detention.
Mr Shahid conducted a raid on the aforementioned police station and discovered Pastor Vicky in the investigation cell, reclining on a charpai (rope bed). Although the bailiff meticulously checked the record register, no entry for Pastor Vicky was found. However, police officials informed him that Pastor Vicky was under detention for investigation.
In response, the bailiff conveyed to the police that he had arrived to retrieve Pastor Vicky and present him before the court. Shockingly, the police bluntly rejected the court orders, forcibly ejecting the bailiff from the police station premises and securing the main gate.
In his comprehensive report submitted to the court, Muhammad Shahid detailed that “Pastor Aleazer could barely articulate his name due to a paralysis attack. Despite being assisted in standing on his feet, he was once again apprehended by the police officers, who unequivocally refused to surrender Pastor Aleazer to the bailiff.”
In the same evening, the police presented Pastor Aleazar in court, where Judge Choudhry Inam Ellahi presided. However, the Station House Officer (SHO) failed to provide satisfactory explanations to the court regarding the unlawful detention of Pastor Vicky. Consequently, the court directed the police to release the pastor after undergoing a medical examination at the hospital. Additionally, the court issued an order for the submission of Pastor Vicky’s medical report.
On September 19th, Pastor Aleazar underwent a medical examination at THQ Hospital Faisalabad, during which the doctors determined that he is diabetic and requires a daily dose of insulin. The medical report additionally noted weakness on the left side of his body and slurring of speech. Recognizing the need for specialized neurological evaluation, the doctors recommended seeking a neurology opinion and referred him to Allied Hospital Faisalabad for further diagnosis.
The court ordered his release based on the medical report, but an unwarranted police presence persisted, further impacting his mental state.
Pastor Vicky shared the distressing experience of having police officers stationed at his residence 24/7, which left him isolated and uncomfortable. During an interview, he emotionally expressed his distress, stating, “These police officers stay with me in this small house, amidst the women of my family.” He further conveyed, “The police are treating me as if I am a state terrorist.”
On September 22nd, Pastor Ghazala Shafiq, a human rights activist, accompanied by her lawyer, Mr. Luke Patrick, visited Pastor Aleazer’s residence.
Miss Ghazala shared a video depicting Pastor Vicky in a severely compromised medical condition, showing his inability to move his left arm properly and his overall weakened state. Throughout the interview, he clarified that the police subjected him to torture in order to coerce a confession, claiming that the shooting incident was self-perpetrated and part of a plan to seek asylum. Shockingly, he asserted that he was even detained from attending church. To exacerbate matters, he was rearrested by the police later that evening.
The situation took a more distressing turn as the police reportedly confiscated the phones of Ghazala Shafiq and Luke Patrick, physically assaulting the latter. Despite Pastor Vicky’s deteriorating health, the police, on September 24th, presented him in court, requesting a three-day physical remand, which was granted.
In a poignant moment, Pastor Vicky found solace in singing an emotional Christian song in the police van just before being taken to court. This heartfelt act underscored his unwavering trust in God to see him through his challenging plight amid the ongoing legal turmoil.
VIDEO: A clearly distressed Pastor Vicky sings a worship song as he is driven in a police vehicle.
Despite his fragile health and the lack of substantial evidence against him, Pastor Vicky’s legal battle continues. This raises serious questions about the fairness of the justice system, especially in a nation that has ratified the UN Convention for Human Rights.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said;
“The ordeal faced by Pastor Aleazar Aka Vicky is a deeply troubling saga that raises serious concerns about the treatment of individuals within the Pakistani justice system.
“Allegations of torture, unjust detention, and the withholding of basic human rights must be thoroughly investigated to ensure justice is served.
“Pakistani Authorities are bound by international law and must safeguard human rights, regardless of an individual’s background or beliefs.”
The British Asian Christian Association is providing vital support to Pastor Vicky’s family, covering a substantial portion of his halted monthly wages. We are committed to sustaining this effort for as long as Pastor Vicky and his family navigate through this harrowing and traumatic situation. If you wish to contribute and make a difference, you can join us in supporting Pastor Vicky’s family by making a donation [here]. Your generosity can truly make an impact during their time of need.