Karachi Police Defy Pakistan High Court

Christian massacre survivor released from custody, detained, and then released again

Karachi police authorities forcibly abducted an eyewitness survivor to last month's deadly Christian welfare agency massacre from the premises of the Sindh High Court Tuesday, minutes after the court had ordered his release from illegal police detention. He was re-released later that night.

Robin Peranditta, 27, was the only eyewitness not shot during the September 25 attack against the Institute for Peace and Justice (IPJ) offices in central Karachi where he worked. He has been held in police "protective custody" ever since the attack, in which seven Christians were shot to death and another was critically wounded.

When he appeared Tuesday before a division bench of the Sindh High Court, Peranditta could barely walk, observers in the courtroom said. "He appeared visibly shaken and scared," reported the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), a Christian advocacy group which filed a constitutional petition for his release on October 4. "He didn't say a word in the court," one observer noted.

According to a court-ordered report submitted at Tuesday's hearing by Nazir Moinuddin Ahmad, the detained Christian has suffered "severe physical and mental torture" while in the custody of the Criminal Investigation Agency (CIA). On October 8, the Sindh High Court had extended Peranditta's detention until Tuesday to allow security police time to complete investigations into the unsolved attack.

Yesterday's edition of The News reported that Ahmad had examined Peranditta yesterday at the CIA Center in Karachi's Saddar district. The examiner said he found "blue patches around Robin's eyes, buttocks and at the back of his hands. He was highly afraid, was under severe tension and even could not walk easily, while his health had ...

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