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HomeAsiaPakistani Pastor Admits Self-Inflicted Gunshot, Faces False Allegation Charges

Pakistani Pastor Admits Self-Inflicted Gunshot, Faces False Allegation Charges

In a recent incident in the Khanuwana area of Jaranwala, Faisalabad District, Pakistan, a local pastor’s startling admission has shed light on a case that initially appeared to be an attack by Islamic extremists. 

Rev. Eleazar Sidhu, a pastor of a Presbyterian church in Kukranwala village, reported to the police that on September 3, he was confronted by Muslim extremists who demanded he recite the Islamic creed. He claimed that when he refused, they shot him.

However, the narrative took a dramatic turn when, on September 14, a termination letter addressed to Pastor Sidhu surfaced on social media. The letter, issued by the Board of the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, explained that the pastor had been suspended from his position at the Presbyterian Myong-Sang Nasreth Church in Kukranwala village on September 13. The reason cited was his “voluntary confession” to colleagues and friends that he had actually self-inflicted the injury.

Pastor Sidhu’s admission was even more surprising as he confessed to planning the entire incident without any external pressure or fear. While the church refrained from drawing any conclusions due to the ongoing legal process, it severed all professional ties with him. A video later emerged on social media, dated September 15, showing Pastor Sidhu making a confession in the presence of a police officer. He explained that he did it out of stress and a desire for police protection, even admitting to discarding the pistol used in a canal.

The police, on the other hand, had a different account. A reliable source within the Faisalabad police denied any physical or mental torture during Pastor Sidhu’s confession. They pointed to the results of his medical examination, which indicated that his arm had been administered anesthesia before the gunshot. The bullet wound, only causing a shallow flesh injury, was accompanied by burn marks due to gunpowder, suggesting the shot was fired from an extremely close range.

The trajectory and angle of the wound also did not align with the pastor’s initial statement about the alleged attack. Furthermore, the source revealed that Pastor Sidhu changed his statements multiple times during the investigation. However, when confronted with the medical report, he ultimately confessed to having planned the entire act. He claimed that a Christian dispenser named Gulfam had injected the anesthesia, while Johnson Masih, his assistant, had held his arm in place for the shooting.

The police also managed to apprehend the individual who sold the illegal .30-caliber pistol to Pastor Sidhu, although the weapon itself remained elusive as he allegedly discarded it in the canal near the site of the supposed attack.

Before his arrest, Pastor Sidhu, also known as Pastor Vicky, was in protective custody in his home. He had not yet been charged when a group of Christian rights advocates, including two individuals from Karachi, Sindh Province, attempted to take him from his residence in Jaranwala. The situation escalated when these activists, after being stopped by police guards, began making live videos on social media, insinuating that Pastor Vicky had been victimized. Ultimately, the activists were briefly detained and then released without charges.

Despite Pastor Sidhu’s plea of innocence, human rights activist Ghazala Shafique believed that the pastor’s confession was extracted under duress and torture. She pointed out that Pastor Sidhu swore on the Bible that he was speaking the truth. Her primary goal, she stated, was to ensure justice for Pastor Sidhu and his two associates, Johnson and Gulfam.

Attorney Lazar Allah Rakha, who specializes in criminal law, raised concerns about the inconsistencies in Pastor Sidhu’s allegations. He questioned why only Sidhu’s church was targeted when there were 27 churches in the area. Rakha believed that the attack was staged, and he suspected that Sidhu had ulterior motives behind his actions.

The false allegations and the subsequent social media activism had diverted attention from other cases of persecution and had caused damage to the Christian community’s struggle for justice. Rakha emphasized the need for the community to recognize the harm caused by the excessive attention on this case, tarnishing the reputation of Pakistani Christians in the West and undermining their fight for justice in Pakistan.

A judicial magistrate in Faisalabad granted post-arrest bail to Pastor Sidhu, but he will remain in jail on judicial remand until October 14. If convicted of false allegations, he could face up to seven years in prison and a fine.

Pakistan currently ranks seventh on the 2023 World Watch List of the most difficult places to be a Christian, according to Open Doors.

Original News Source: Morning Star News

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