CAT/C/66/D/776/2016

get involved in illegal activity. Because the male complainant’s situation was sensitive, it is
understandable that he did not inform his supervisors about the threatening calls, or about
the ensuing incidents. He would have expected the police to become involved, and, given
the widespread police corruption and pervasive anti-Christian environment in Pakistan, he
had every reason to fear the police.
3.14 The Swiss authorities also considered that the threatening letter the complainants
provided was inauthentic because it was partially written in English. However, the letter
only contains a few English-language terms, and does not reflect a high level of education
that would contradict the presumed village origins of the individuals who wrote the
threatening letter. Furthermore, the vast majority of Pakistanis have knowledge of English.
The objections of the Swiss authorities to the authenticity of the letter are thus unfounded.
State party’s observations on the merits
4.1
In its observations dated 25 April 2017, the State party added to the factual
background of the communication with elements the complainants had raised during
domestic proceedings. The male complainant alleges that he started receiving the
threatening telephone calls at the end of 2010, and that in February 2011, the same
individuals who called him accosted him in the street and offered him a bribe in exchange
for his assistance in procuring visas. After he refused, he began receiving threatening calls
almost every day. On 3 March 2011, he also received a threatening letter. On 16 April 2011,
the individuals who had been calling him threatened and beat him in Lahore. According to
the male complainant, approximately two weeks later, a pastor called him to inform him
that his persecutors had filed a criminal complaint against him for having insulted the
Prophet Mohamed. On 30 June 2011, he resigned from his job at the Swiss Embassy,
fearing both his persecutors and the police. The female complainant claims to have started
working for the Swiss Embassy in 2007, as the housemaid of the Chief of the Visa Section.
The individuals who threatened her husband also threatened to harm her. However, she
never had contact with them.
4.2
On 17 July 2011, the complainants arrived in Switzerland for the first time, and
returned to Lahore in September 2011. On 2 October 2011, they arrived in Switzerland
again, and subsequently lost their passports in Basel. On 9 November 2011, they applied for
asylum. On 17 November 2011, the Federal Office for Migration (known since 1 January
2015 as the State Secretariat for Migration) interviewed them. 3 On 21 March 2013, the
Office requested information on the complainants’ case from the Swiss Embassy in
Islamabad. On 4 November 2014, the Office interviewed the complainants again. Their
asylum application and the related appeal were denied on 4 December 2014 and 19
September 2016, respectively, on the ground that their statements were not credible.
4.3
The State party considers that the communication is without merit, as the
complainants’ allegations are implausible and there is nothing to indicate that they would
face a concrete and personal risk of being subjected to torture in Pakistan. The Swiss
authorities rejected their claims after thorough and careful consideration. Their
communication does not present any new elements that could lead the Committee to a
different conclusion.
4.4
The general situation in Pakistan alone does not suffice to demonstrate that the
complainants risk being subjected to torture there. 4 While credible reports indicate that
religious minorities in Pakistan are at an elevated risk of reprisals and face discrimination, 5
given the large number of Christians living in Pakistan, the number of acts of violence
against them does not indicate that they are collectively persecuted. 6 Moreover, the
Government of Pakistan has announced a national plan of action to combat terrorism,
3
4

5

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GE.19-13276

The State party provides the German-language interview report dated 17 November 2011.
The State party cites European Court of Human Rights, Samina v. Sweden (application No. 55463/09),
judgment of 20 October 2011, para. 50.
The State party cites, inter alia, the chapter on Pakistan in Human Rights Watch, World Report 2017
(New York, 2017).
The State party cites United Kingdom Home Office, “Country information and guidance – Pakistan:
Christians and Christian converts,” May 2016, p. 6.
5

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