10/26/2017, 19.29
PAKISTAN
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Christian girl is abducted and tortured in Punjab, activists condemn the misdeed

by Shafique Khokhar

The incident occurred in the city of Sheikhupura. The 12-year-old girl is in sixth grade. Her mother wanted to file a complaint but the police refused to register it.

Sheikhupura (AsiaNews) –  12-year-old Christian girl was kidnapped, raped and tortured with cigarette butts by three Muslim men in Sheikhupura, Punjab (Pakistan).

Reacting to the latest case of anti-Christian violence, activists, Catholics and Muslims spoke to AsiaNews to condemn it in no uncertain terms.

The girl’s name is Meshal, a six grader. Her mother told a Pakistani television channel that she went to the police to file a complaint, but the agents refuse to file the case or start a criminal investigation. Punjab Chief Minister Mian Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif was informed of the incident today.

Activist Shahid Anwar condemns "this brutal act of persecution of a [member of a] religious minority. In Pakistan, girls are often taken, raped and converted by force. The competent authorities did not take any action.”

For the girl, "things are twice as bad. First, because she belongs to a religious minority. Secondly, because she is a woman. What is more, when minors go to police to file complaints, they are not treated the same way as other citizens, and their complaints are not taken seriously."

"Minorities are vulnerable and marginalised, so they are easy targets,” said Benish Patras, coordinator of the National Justice and Peace Commission. “Local authorities and institutions must investigate and register the charges against perpetrators. The government must also ensure the application of laws against honour crimes and rape."

"Our country has no good reputation when it comes to the defence of minority rights,” said Muhammad Aamir Kakkazai, an Islamic writer and researcher. “Poor people have no rights and minorities are even worse. They suffer discrimination at all levels of society, from the state to private employment. They are victims of intolerant attitudes even in public."

Like writer Farahnaz Ispahani, who in her book ‘Purifying the Land of the Pure’ refers to the example of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan who envisioned a modern secular country in which everyone would enjoy religious freedom, Kakkazai said: “According to Ispahani, the religious lobby hijacked Jinnah’s Pakistan. [What happened] is not tolerable in a modern society. The Punjab government must take strong action against the perpetrators."

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