Punjab: Impunity for rape, abduction and forced conversion of Christian and Hindu girls

Editor’s Note: For how long must our fellow Pakistanis be subjected to these horrors just because they don’t share the faith of the majority.  The right to practice one’s faith freely is the fundemental right in democracies and is also practiced by all other faiths including Islam.  Pakistan’s Christain and Hindu communities are amongst the most hard working and decent segment of Pakistani society but yet they are being subjected to such atrocities.  Sadly, there are no dharnas for this and our elected representatives have been silenced when they stood up to this menace.  The oppression of our fellow Pakistanis is the direct result of funding, supporting and arming Jihadi militias who have not only destroyed the writ of the State but also want a holocaust of fellow Pakistanis who do not share their bigotted, misogynist and sectarian views.

The father of two girls, who had been abducted and raped by Muslims, was told to forget them. Pakistani police refuse to investigate rape of Christian and Hindu women and their forced conversion to Islam.

Fr. John William, a priest of the diocese of Faisalabad, confirms that the kidnapping of young women has become “common practice”, because the authorities and police are “puppets in the hands of extremists.” In recent days, AsiaNews reported the tragedy of another young girl, again from Punjab, seized by force and forced to marry a Muslim, Punjab: Christian student nurse forced to convert to marry Muslim man.

Christian and Hindu girls, the priest continues, are forced to marry Muslims and convert to Islam, while police and local authorities “are paid” to settle the bureaucracy to avoid reports. The officials are in the hands of extremists and religious leaders in Friday sermons “speak openly of killing and kidnapping Christian girls.” And the government, said Father John, “is complicit.”

The following news report was originally published in the Spero Forum:

The Masihi Foundation of Pakistan reports that two Christian girls of the Punjab region of Pakistan were abducted, raped and forced to convert to Islam. The human rights advocacy group reported that the two sisters, Rebbecca Masih and Saima Masih, were kidnapped in Jhung the district of Faisalabad by a gang of Muslim men.

As explained by their father, Rehmat Masih, a few days ago a wealthy local businessman, Muhammad Waseem, had previously warned that he wanted to marry the two girls, then threatened to kidnap them and convert them by force. Rehmat went to the police to file a complaint, but they did not take action. On May 24 the two girls were waylaid while returning from the market, and men kidnapped and threw them in a car owned by Waseem.

Rehmat rushed back to the police. The officers, after completing the investigation, said that “there are false accusations against Waseem,” and that Rehmat, often gets drunk and starts assaulting his daughters, so they might have ran away unable to bear the torture. Other witnesses and neighbors instead swear that Rehmat is a respectable man and has never harmed his daughters.

On May 25, Muhammad Waseem forcefully married Saima Masih, in the presence of the leader Muhammad Zubair Qasim, an active member of the banned extremist group “Sip-e-Sahaba”, often known for organizing kidnappings and forced conversions of Christian girls and Hindus. During the final interview, the police said to Rehmat to “forget his daughters.”

Haroon Barkat Masih, Director of the Masihi Foundation, who is dealing with the case of Asia Bibi, condemns the incident and says to Fides: “Kidnapping Christian girls, conversion and forced marriages have become common practice in Punjab. The police have been bought, instead of serving the Punjab government they are servants of extremist groups. Punjab is becoming heaven for these groups: Muslim leaders openly call for violence in their sermons, without shame. Hundreds of cases like that of the Masih sisters do not come into existence. We have repeatedly appealed to the Punjab government, without receiving an answer: the government supports these groups. ”

A Catholic nun in Faisalabad – who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons – has witnessed numerous cases of Christian girls raped and forced into marriage to Musims. She has worked to liberate these girls, and then hide them from their putative husbands. Said the nun, “There are countless similar cases every year, that the Church of Pakistan has denounced many times, asking for respect for basic rights.

The Masih sisters is a common fate of many girls and young Christian women in a society that tolerates discrimination on religious minorities, especially on women. ” In her pastoral work, the nun “seeks to promote the social status of girls who, for reasons of caste or religion, are living in conditions of subordination and poverty, especially through education and professional training.”



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