ISLAMABAD: Family members of Nadeem Joseph, a Christian man murdered in Peshawar over a minor brawl with his neighbour last month, and some people from the community announced a hunger strike on Thursday against the non-arrest of the alleged murderers, accusing the Peshawar police of protecting them.
Joseph, a resident of TV Colony in Peshawar, his mother-in-law and son-in-law were reportedly shot at by accused Suleman Khan on June 2. Joseph breathed his last on June 24, with questions raised whether the incident had a religious basis.
In a press statement, Advocate Waheed Javed said that members of the Christian community and family of the deceased had gathered outside the National Press Club to draw the attention of senior government officials towards the Peshawar police’s alleged patronage of the accused who continue to remain at large despite their bails having been cancelled by the court.
The press statement claimed that the accused were now threatening the family to stop pursuing the case and to leave the neighbourhood. They said it was instilling fear in the community and Prime Minister Imran Khan, Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and other senior officials should take notice of the situation and order the arrest of the alleged murderers on priority.
According to reports, in a video statement prior to his death, Joseph had said that he moved to a house that he bought a house in the TV Colony. “The person who lived in front of my house was an armed criminal who would call me to his house and treated me quite badly,” he said. “He would tell me how he had killed and tortured people.” Joseph added that the police seemed powerless to take action against the man and would not take action against him.
Joseph further said he was videotaping the man, identified as Suleman Khan, on the day of the incident when he was brandishing his gun. “When they found out that I was videotaping them, they tortured me and fired at me.”
Meanwhile, neither the FIR of the brawl registered a month ago, nor the initial statement by Joseph had any mention that he was targeted for being a Christian.
On the other hand, Joseph’s family claims that Suleman had asked Joseph on the day he moved to the neighbourhood whether he was a Muslim. And, when told he was a Christian, was asked why he had bought a property in a Muslim dominated area. He continued to harass Joseph and, when Joseph asked him why he was doing so, he said he would find out soon.