FAISALABAD: A state of fear and panic has spread among the Christian residents of Town Toba Tek Singh (TTS) after a prominent pastor was kidnapped under mysterious circumstances on Saturday.
Pastor Victor Samuel Maseeh was kidnapped by seven unidentified armed men, three of whom were allegedly wearing police uniforms. Victor Samuel Maseeh who hails from the Christian Colony, which houses some 300 Christians, was a pastor at the church of a Christian school of thought called ‘God’s Grace Bible churches’.
Sikandar Samuel, brother of Victor Samuel, told to the police that seven men arrived in two vehicles, one similar to a van used by the Punjab police, adding that the unidentified visitors showed search warrants issued by a Lahore judicial magistrate, Mian Shahid Amin Joya.
Samuel told the police that one of the kidnappers identified himself as an Assistant Inspector Police and told them that he came from Aray Bazaar, Police Station, Lahore and has to interrogate Pastor Victor Maseeh.
The officers asked intrusive questions about Victor’s ex-American wife and also inspected various files in Victor’s laptop, confiscating the machine along with some documents and his mobile phone. They then asked Victor to accompany them to the district police office for further questioning.
Sikandar said he also got into the car with them but instead of going to the police office, they dropped him near the Gojra bypass but took Victor with them to an undisclosed location.
Later, when Sikander approached the Toba city police, an official said they were unaware of any police visitors from Lahore. Police registered a case of kidnapping of Victor on the complaint of Sikandar against unidentified people.
Sikandar also told the police that “the kidnappers showed them warrants issued by Mian Shahid Ameen Joiya, a Judicial Magistrate from Lahore, complete with affixation stamp of the court.”
“In the presence of my joint family members, the police personnel used very abusive language with my brother and also grilled him,” he told the police.
SHO TTS police station Jamshaid Iqbal Chishti told The Express Tribune that “a case was immediately registered on the complaint of Sikandar Samuel vide FIR No.495/12 under section 365 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).”
He further said that “on the basis of the information furnished by the complainant, a special police party had visited the Aray Bazaar Lahore police station to ascertain whether any team was sent by them, but no such record was found from that police station.”
The SHO further said that they tried to locate Judicial Magistrate Mian Shahid Ameen Joiya and the court from which arrest warrants for the pastor had been issued. But the efforts bore no fruit.
SHO Chishti added that two teams have been constituted by the police who were now looking for the pastor and his abductors.
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