» 09/26/2012, 00.00
Faisalabad: 16 year old Christian girl gang raped for hours by young Muslims
The rape took place in the house of one of the three members of the group, all belonging to wealthy families. The incident occurred in broad daylight; the desperate cries for help of the girl in vain. The father tells AsiaNews: "despite our poverty, I will not accept compromise." Vicar General: "poor family, but rich in the Catholic faith. They deserve justice. "
(AsiaNews) - A new case of gang rape against a Christian minor in Pakistan. The
rape occurred in broad daylight, for hours, in a private home where three young
Muslims - all under 30 - abused a defenseless girl. A story, Fr. Bonnie
Mendes tells AsiaNews that
demonstrates "the powerlessness of the poor in Pakistan," which is
reflected "in all its evidence in events such as the sexual abuse of
Shumaila" which took place on September 20 last, but has only now been revealed
by the press. A
story similar to that which occurred Sept. 4 - again in Faisalabad - when
a 60 year old Muslim merchant has raped a Christian girl of 10. These
episodes confirm the increase of attacks against children in Punjab, as
evidenced by a survey carried out by the Society for the Protection of the
Rights of the Child (SPARC), covering the first five months of 2012, which
documents 122 cases of violations in
the province: among these, at least 40 sexual, 14 murders, 22 kidnappings, 14
corporal punishment, six forced marriages and 13 deaths due to lack of basic
Masih, a native of Chak 226, Samundari, in the district of Faisalabad (Punjab),
is the oldest of four children of a poor Christian family. On
the morning of September 20 the girl was headed to the house of a wealthy
Muslim, where her mother worked as a maid, to warn of sudden visit by some guests.
the way she met three young Muslims - Iftikhar Hussain 27, Shahid Munir and Muhammad
Imran both 30 - who tried at first to persuade her to go with them. At
her refusal, the three took her by force and locked her up in the house of
Iftikhar Hussain, taking turns raping her for hours. The
attack took place at 11 am, in broad daylight, but no one intervened to save
Shumaila, despite the desperate cries and pleas for help. At
about 5 pm the father Manzoor Masih, along with two cousins, began searching for
the girl when she failed to return home. Arriving
close to the house where she was being held they heard her cries. At the sight
of the men, the three young Muslims fled, leaving Shumaila naked and in pain on
father reported the incident to police who opened an investigation and arrested
two of the three members of the pack. The
last, Shahid Munir, is still at large and the police have launched searches to
arrest him. Meanwhile,
a medical report has confirmed the gang rape suffered by the girl, who is now a
guest of the family of her uncle for security reasons. Shumaila
has extensive physical and psychological injuries, as well as pain and injuries
that prevent her from even walking. Contacted
by AsiaNews the girl's father Manzoor
Masih, 45, swears that "despite our poverty, I will never reach a
compromise settlement" with the rapists of his daughter. He
hopes that these elements "are punished according to the law," so
that everybody understands that "it is not permissible to assault any young
girl" just because you are rich or powerful. "These
people are monsters - concludes the parent - and must be punished without
Mendes, former Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Justice and
Peace (NCJP) of the Church of Pakistan, also insists on the poverty factor,
while stressing that the violence occurred "in broad daylight" at the
hands of "rich young Muslims." The
young girl "continues to suffer" and does not get justice, "because
of her poverty." As
long as the lower segments of the population do not unite, the priest adds,
"they can never aspire to social equality." He thoughts are echoed by Fr. Khalid
Rasheed Asi, vicar general of the diocese of Faisalabad, according to who
"religious minorities and marginalized groups are easy targets for wealthy
landowners in rural areas." "I
personally know the victim - he adds - because I was pastor in that area, they
are a very poor family, but rich in the Catholic faith. They deserve justice."
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