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    » 04/24/2014, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Punjab: clan gang rapes seven year old Christian and kidnaps father to stop him reporting them

    Jibran Khan

    Sara was raped by four men in a Muslim village in Sialkot . The little girl is hospitalized in a "critical condition". The rapists kidnapped her father, Iqbal Masih, forcing the family to not press charges. Activists and human rights organizations demand justice.

    Islamabad (AsiaNews ) - A "clan" of four Muslim men raped a Christian girl of only seven years old, named Sara yesterday in the village of Mally ki, Daska, Sialkot district (Punjab) . The child is now in Sialkot hospital, in the intensive care unit in a "critical" condition according to doctors. Meanwhile, the police, instead of arresting the culprits, helped the local clan to kidnap the girl's father; Iqbal Masih was taken and hidden in a secret place to "force the family not to report the story, to reach an agreement with the criminals and to avoid a dispute of a religious background".

    The Christian community has attempted every possible means to negotiate with police, with no success. The police seem reluctant to punish the rapists and free Masih, in the hands of the torturers who abused daughter.

    Activists and human rights organizations demand justice and ensure their support for the family. Following repeated appeals and pressures, the judiciary has opened an investigation and ordered the arrest of two people involved in the rape; however so far there is no news of her father's fate.

    According to recent research, the cases of sexual abuse and violence - especially against young Christian girls - are on the rise in the province of Punjab, under the complicit silence of the police and the judicial authorities. Father John Arshad, a priest involved in the protection of minority rights, condemns the sexual assault on a girl of only seven years and the kidnapping of the parent, "to put pressure on the family not to report the crime". The "silence" of civil society, he adds, heightens the drama of the story even more.

    With a population of more than 180 million people (97 per cent Muslim), Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, the second largest Muslim nation after Indonesia. About 80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni, whilst Shias are 20 per cent. Hindus are 1.85 per cent, followed by Christians (1.6 per cent) and Sikhs (0.04 per cent). Violence against ethnic and religious minorities is commonplace across the country, with Shia Muslims and Christians as the main target, with things getting worse. Dozens of episodes , including targeted attacks against entire communities - such as in Gojra in 2009 or Joseph Colony Lahore last year - or abuses against individuals (Asia Bibi , Rimsha Masih or the young Robert Fanish Masih, who also died in his cell), are often perpetrated under the pretext of the blasphemy laws .

     

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    See also

    12/03/2010 PAKISTAN
    Punjab: Christian maid burned alive to prevent her from reporting a rape
    Kiran George had burns on 80% of her body and died after two days of slow agony. The girl was raped by the son of her Muslim master. When she threatened a lawsuit, the young man killed her. In a second incident a Muslim mob burnt a Christian home and copies of the Bible.

    27/05/2015 BANGLADESH
    Bangladesh, two men arrested for the rape of tribal Catholic girl
    The accused have confessed to having planned the violent attack. The High Court in Dhaka puts the police under investigation for negligence.

    13/06/2008 PAKISTAN
    Mentally disturbed Christian girl, 12, raped by group of Muslims
    The three are accused of attacking a twelve-year-old girl suffering from mental disturbances. Her father did not immediately report the crime because of threats; thanks to the support of Christian activists, he is now asking for justice. The girl will be cared for at a centre of religious sisters specialised in psychological illnesses.

    04/04/2013 PAKISTAN
    Lahore: kidnapped and tortured by Muslims, the Easter passion of a 38 year-old Christian
    Siddique Masih was seized by his former employer, Shahid Khan, a criminal and murderer with "influential protection" in the area. He managed to escape and denounce the band. The violent beatings he was subjected to caused fractures and serious damage to his kidneys. He confesses to AsiaNews: "I will fight for justice until my last breath."

    26/11/2015 PAKISTAN
    Sialkot, Muslim kidnaps 13 year old Christian girl and forces her to convert to Islam
    Sana John, aged 13, was kidnapped on her way to school. The family reported her disappearance, but police and the courts fail to intervene. Local Muslim mafia threaten family. The father tells AsiaNews: "I wander from office to office in search of justice, in vain."



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