Christian Employee Accused of Financial Misconduct Struggles for Justice

A 27-year-old Christian man, Rufan, who works at a restaurant, is currently facing imprisonment due to allegations of misappropriating a substantial sum of money.

Living in Nishat Colony with his wife and parents, Rufan began his job at Johnny and Jugnu restaurant in Bahria Town, Lahore, in 2016, earning a monthly salary of 25,000 PKR. Initially, Rufan's work life was smooth, but things changed drastically in September 2023 with the appointment of a new manager, Muhammad Hassan Javed. The new manager, according to Rizwan, began to implement his own rules and discriminated against minority staff members, leading to some resignations. However, due to financial constraints and a lack of educational qualifications, Rufan continued his job amidst these challenges.

The situation escalated when, during an audit, the manager accused Rufan of misappropriating 3,949,160 PKR while taking orders, a task not related to Rufan’s role. On November 3, 2023, an FIR (No. 3925/23) was filed against Rufan under offence 408 of the Pakistan Penal Code at Sundar Police Station, Lahore, further alleging misuse of the restaurant’s internal systems, a task Rufan is reportedly not skilled in.

Rufan was arrested and sent to District Jail, Lahore, three days post-FIR. On November 11th, Rufan's family sought HARDS's legal assistance for his post-arrest bail, citing their inability to afford court expenses and the large sum mentioned in the FIR. They also expressed fear over threats from the manager to not pursue bail.

An initial bail application on November 15th by HARDS’s lawyer, Zahid Nazir, was unfortunately denied on November 22nd. A subsequent bail application was filed on November 24th in the court of Additional Session Judge Zafar Mehdi, with a hearing set for November 27th for further proceedings and record submission.

This case highlights the struggles faced by minority employees and the complexities of the legal system, as Rufan's family and HARDS navigate the pursuit of justice amidst challenging circumstances.