24 Christian youths 'disappear' mysteriously in Karachi

Families of the missing youths have alleged that the disappearance started from March 30 when six youths were picked up.

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Protest over violence against Christians in Lahore March 15, 2015

Leaders of the minority Christian community have alleged that 24 of their youths have been picked up by mysterious masked security officials since March 30 from a Christian neighbourhood in Karachi.

The leaders, who met with senior police officials at the Karachi District Inspector General East's office yesterday, claimed that the families of the missing youths have alleged that the disappearance started from March 30 when six youths were picked up.

They informed the police officials that the affected Christian families in the Youhandabad neighbourhood of Gulshan-e-Iqbal say that on April 15, four youths were arrested and on May 8, 14 youngsters were made to disappear.

According to the residents of the neighbourhood in question, these men who appear to be security officials, show up wearing masks in the dead of the night, riding in cars without licence plates. They break down doors across the neighbourhood and enter homes with reckless abandon.

The affected families claimed that the 14 youths who were arrested on the night of May 8 are still missing.

Expressing reservations over the way the youth had been taken away in cars with no license number plates, the Christian leaders led by Father Saleh Diego, Parish Priest at St Paul Parish, urged the police to inform them about the reasons behind the youths being picked up.

A woman whose husband had been taken away forcibly said the men first asked her husband's name and demanded to see his identity card.
"Then they beat him up and dragged him away," she said during the meeting.

Another affected family said that on April 15, these "officers" broke into their home, using cutters on the locks.

Some of the youths have been booked in false cases and had to obtain bails, one of the leaders said.

A young man released after being picked up told the meeting he was subjected to beating and electric shocks for three days and was told to follow exactly as they said.

"They constantly kept asking me about different people, encounters and weapons," he said during the discussion. 

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