On April 23, 2015 Nabeel Masih aged 29 was murdered due to his Christian faith at village Ghakka Meetar Tehsil Wazirabad District Gujranwala. Deceased left 2 children, a son aged 2 and seven months old daughter along with his young wife Sonia aged 25.
On May 04 CTS team received information about the murder of Nabeel Masih, killed by a local Muslim Murtiza Cheema who disliked young Nabeel and often tried to create hurdles and miseries for him. Mutiza Cheema was an influenced person among the area and the police of the local police station. Cheema often threatened Nabeel and his other brothers for life as he was jealous of their independent work. Nabeel and his other four brothers worked hard and earned good. Nabeel was driver and drive ambulance of EDHI foundation for the welfare of the people and was paid good salary by the foundation. Before he started drive ambulance he used to drive tractor and worked for a local landlord Mehar Ehsan s/o Mohammad Hussain. Although Nabeel’s other four brothers do private work and earned good but he also do hard work for the needs of his family (wife and minors).
Following the information CTS team visited the place of occurrence on May 06, 2015 and met the local residents and neighbors of the victim’s family. Locals informed the team that Nabeel died in an accident. CTS team found that locals afraid as they were threatened by the Muslims/landlord Murtiza Cheema for the consequences if they disclosed the information.
The family of deceased Nabeel Masih was escaped as they were pressurized and threatened to withdraw the case against him therefore they lived with some relatives at Francisabad Colony Gujranwala. After meeting local residents of Ghakka Meetar Wazirabad the team approached family at Francisabad Colony and collected the following information.
Khalil Masih s/o James Masih shared with the team that on April 23, 2015 Nabeel was requested by the land owner Mehar Ehsan to help them in harvesting their wheat crops. Nabeel said that he was busy in his work in EDHI foundation, but later became agree to work for the land lord. He was at home when two local young boys Kashif Masih and Iftikhar Masih knocked his door and asked Nabeel to go to the fields for harvesting wheat.
Nabeel was alone in the field and during the period Murtiza Cheema along with 4 other companions attacked him, they beat him severely and tortured not only mentally but also physically. They forcibly took Nabeel in to the water pool (fish form) nearby the field and sank him in the water. Due to the severe torture Nabeel was near to die when Murtiza Cheema asked few people to inform his elder brother Khalil Akhtar s/o James Masih.
Khalil Masih was informed that Nabeel got accident as he fell down in to a big dug and a heavy tractor was on him. They also informed Khalil that due to the terrible accident Nabeel was in serious condition.
Khalil rushed towards the fields when he heard about the accident of Nabeel and found Him in critical miserable condition. When Nabeel saw his brother he mentioned the names of accused to his brother who tortured him severely and responsible for his condition. Khalil begged for help as he wanted to take his brother to the hospital for the medical treatment but the accused party did not help him and delayed him taking to the hospital. Nabeel could not bear the pain of severe injuries in the vital parts of his body and expired on the way to the hospital.
After death of Nabeel, his mother and other family members accused Murtiza Cheema for the murder. They also alleged other two Christians who came to his home to call Nabeel for work in the field. Due to this blame Murtiza Cheema and other his family members attacked Nabeel’s family, they severely beat including his mother Irshad Bibi, young sister Shaumila and Nabeel’s wife Sonia Bibi, and threatened family for not registering the police case against the culprits.
On the other hand police was not cooperative to the victim’s family for lodging case FIR against the accused. Therefore local Christians along with the family came outside the road and staged protest demonstration. They blocked the main Wazirabad road and demanded for the registration of case FIR. During protest police beat the protestors and forced them to vacant the place as there was a heavy traffic jam.
When police saw that Christians were determined and demanded for the case registration, Station House Officer of the local police station ordered for the registration of the case FIR no. 138/15 offense under section 302, 148, 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against the culprits Ali Murtiza, Murtiza Cheema, Kashif Masih, Iftikhar Masih and two unknown on April 23, 2015 at about 6:30 pm on the same evening in the Sohdra Police Station. No one from the accused party arrested till the date, as the police was friendly with the culprits.
The family informed the CTS team that they do not trust the investigation of the Investigation Officer of the local Police Station therefore they demanded and gave application to the City Police Officer Gujranwala Region (CPO) to depute a sincere and neutral officer for this case investigation but all in vain. The family also went to the Additional Superintendent of the Police (ASP) Gujranwala but they remained fail to avail appropriate help in change of their case investigation.
Sohdra Police Station Wazirabad:
CTS team visited Sohdra Police Station to meet the Murtiza Bhutto SHO and Sarwer Cheema the case Investigation Officer but the both were not present in the Station. CTS Director was able to speak with I O over telephone and asked about the police investigation in the said case as well as the arrest of accused persons. I O said that the complainant party did not come to the police station to join the case inquiry, yet he assured that he will do fair and just investigation of the case to provide justice to the victim’s family.
Situation of the victim’s family:
Presently the accused party was not arrested and they threatened family for withdrawal of the case. The family have has to go in hiding because of the pressure by the accused party and attitude of the police towards the victim family. They had to flee for safety as the culprits threatened them for life and lived hide among their relatives, they seeking help to get justice in their case as they wanted to bring the culprits to punish. Accused party is influenced and has join hands with police as giving a heavy bribe, police not taking serious action against the culprits and the oppressed family is helpless.
CTS team assured the family the full cooperation, moral support during the police investigations in this murder case.