Relaymedia

No Suspects Still in Execution-Style Massacre in Pakistan

Local police investigators have failed to identify a single suspect two years after seven Christians were gunned down at the Karachi headquarters of a Christian welfare agency
( [email protected] ) Oct 18, 2004 11:32 AM EDT

Local police investigators have failed to identify a single suspect two years after seven Christians were gunned down at the Karachi headquarters of a Christian welfare agency.

On Sept. 25, 2002, seven staff members shot to death in their downtown office of the Institute of Peace and Justice (IPJ), in an execution-style massacre, Compass Direct reported.

Of the two Christians who survived the attack, 26-year-old Robin Sharif remains partially paralyzed due to a gunshot wound to the head. The other, Robin Piranditta, has been in hiding and separated from his family since his release from police custody. The IPJ's longtime watchman was subjected to severe torture for 27 days while undergoing interrogation in connection with the shooting.

Three separate sources that have carefully studied the case told Compass that "mounting evidence” indicates that members of Pakistan's secret police were directly involved in the IPJ murders.

According to the International Religious Freedom Report released last month by the U.S. State Department, the Pakistani government fails in many respects to protect the rights of religious minorities. This is due both to public policy and to the Government's unwillingness to take action against societal forces hostile to those who practice a different faith. The accretion of discriminatory religious legislation has fostered an atmosphere of religious intolerance, which contributes to acts of violence directed against non-Muslims and members of minority Muslim groups. There were instances in which the Government failed to intervene in cases of societal violence directed at minority religious groups. The lack of an adequate government response contributed to an atmosphere of impunity for acts of violence and intimidation against religious minorities. However, the Government promotes religious tolerance, does not encourage sectarian violence, and, at the highest levels, specifically condemned sectarian extremism during the period covered by the State Department’s report. It has banned all significant sectarian extremist groups and arrested hundreds of members of these groups suspected of violent attacks. Parties and groups with religious affiliations have been known to target minority groups.

Currently, Christians constitute between two and three percent of Pakistan's 150 million people, 96 percent of whom are Muslim.