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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”By ICC’s Pakistan Correspondent” font_container=”tag:h6|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1524746114971{margin-bottom: 22px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”96436″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]04/26/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – One month ago, medical staff and security guards at the Services Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan beat and killed a Christian man named Suneel Saleem. Due to widespread discrimination against Christians in Pakistan, a simple request for medical attention escalated into a brawl that left Suneel’s widow alone to take care of their four children.

Unfortunately, despite the passage of a month’s time, the chances of Suneel’s family receiving any form of justice for their loss continue to dwindle.

This tragedy began on March 26 when Suneel’s pregnant sister, Kiran, was brought to the Services Hospital after experiencing labor pains. “My sister Mehwish accompanied me to the doctor’s station,” Kiran explained to International Christian Concern (ICC). “Dr. Saira was drinking tea while the other medical staff were busy on their cellphones. They did not pay attention to me.

I waited for a while and then approached the doctor, pleading for her help,” Kiran continued. “The doctor became furious and shouted at me. She hit me with a paper file which carried my medical documents. The doctor ordered a junior nurse to ‘teach me a lesson’ by giving me a special dose of something that would increase my pain.

My sister protested against the unethical and unprofessional behavior of the doctor,” Kiran said. “She requested that the doctor be kind to me, but the doctor lost her mind when she noticed that Mehwish was wearing a cross around her neck.

Dr. Saira continued to abuse Kiran, calling her names and slapping her across the face. At one point, Kiran said, “The doctor said, ‘You are a Christian bitch. How dare you tell me my responsibility!’” Dr. Saira then ordered security to throw Kiran and Mehwish out of the hospital.

When Kiran’s brother Suneel arrived at the gate to the hospital, the security guards stopped him. When he asked about Kiran’s conditions, the security guards neither updated him, nor allowed him to talk to Dr. Saira. Instead, a senior doctor ordered the security guards to “teach him a lesson.

The hospital staff brutally beat Suneel and dragged him to a room that had no CCTV-cameras. In this room, the hospital staff killed him and shouted, “We have laid down one, who wants to be the next?” when they exited.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”“My sister protested against the unethical and unprofessional behavior of the doctor… She requested that the doctor be kind to me, but the doctor lost her mind when she noticed that Mehwish was wearing a cross around her neck.”” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1524746357810{margin-top: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 60px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1524879268378{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

For Suneel’s family, this was only the beginning of their suffering. Since the murder of their relative, they have been harassed and bullied by individuals connected with the Services Hospital.

I am experiencing pervasive discrimination in the process of getting justice for my son,” Saleem Masih, Suneel’s father, told ICC. “The hospital administration was not willing to issue Suneel’s death certificate with his cause of death. However, after the intervention of the Department of Motorway Police, where Suneel was an employee, it was issued mentioning the death as ‘killed.’”

Due to threats, our children are not going to school and are not going out to play,” Masih continued.

Recently, a stranger appeared at Masih’s house acting as an investigating police officer. He filmed the family’s house and the family members. However, it was later revealed that this individual was a spy for the hospital administration. He was handed over to the local police, but the police reportedly released him without further inquiry

Over a week ago, the police asked Aneel Masih, Suneel’s brother, to help them identify the area of the hospital where the incident took place. Aneel went with the police to identify the location, but the medical superintendent of the hospital later submitted a criminal complaint against Aneel, alleging that he was intruding into the hospital and threatening the hospital staff.

Suneel and his sister were mistreated by the medical staff,” Father Qaisar Feroz said shortly after leading Suneel’s memorial service. “We are sad and strongly condemn the discriminatory attitude, injustice, and violence that was carried out by the hospital staff on this young Christian man.

We have little hope that the grieved family would find justice,” Illyas Bhatti, a local community leader told ICC. “They will be engaged in lengthy procedural actions and meanwhile will be pressurized and threatened by influential persons to withdraw the case. Vulnerability increases when the victim is from a minority community.

Space for religious minorities is shrinking rapidly in Pakistan,” Javed David, Chairman of Hope for Light Ministries, explained to ICC. “Ironically, personnel in government departments are encouraging this trend in one or the other way. The government and law enforcement agencies must take firm steps to counter this trend, but we often find a lack of political will in this regard.

For interviews with William Stark, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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