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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato


    » 07/24/2013, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Sanghar: Catholic nurse living in fear because she does not want to marry Muslim man

    Jibran Kahn

    Ghulam Muhammad, an influential and feared Muslim businessman in Sanghar District, has threatened to abduct Nazia Masih and disfigured her with acid because she has refused to marry him. The man is known to police because of several complaints against him of kidnappings and rapes. Yet he lives with impunity. Now Nazia's whole family is in danger. "We are Christians and poor," she said. "In Pakistan, our honour and property are not safe." For a Catholic priest in Karachi, "This is shameful". The authorities "need to do something to protect them."

    Karachi (AsiaNews) - Pakistan's small Catholic community has been shaken again by another case of violence. An influential Muslim businessman in the district of Sanghar has repeatedly threatened a Catholic nurse who has refused to marry him, filing a case against her when she became engaged to another man. Despite the threats, the situation seems under control for now.  Police, which so far aided and abetted the Muslim man, has been forced to provide protection to the Catholic woman thanks to pressure from Christian groups and moderate Muslims.

    It all began when Ghulam Muhammad decided he wanted to marry Nazia Masih (pictured), a Catholic nurse from Padri-Jo-Goth, Sanghar District, who works at Cheniot Hospital.

    Muhammad approached her with a proposal to marry him and convert to Islam. After she turned him down, he threatened to abduct her and disfigure her with acid.

    Regrettably, Muhammad has a certain reputation in the district as someone who has already abducted, raped and forcibly converted local Hindu women to Islam. Those who dared sue him for rape were in fact unable to obtain justice.

    On her way home on 10 May, Nazia Masih was approached by four armed men who warned her to accept Muhammad's proposal or else. After harassing her, they drove away. Frightened, she sought help at work but hospital authorities refused.

    The girl's parents decided then to anticipate her engagement to Ejaz Joseph, a local Christian, on 26 May. However, Ghulam Muhammad interrupted the ceremony accompanied by several police officers who, without evidence of any crime, tried to arrest the couple.

    Luckily, after the involvement of village elders, police took her father and brother away, but released them a few hours later. Eventually, Nazia's persecutor decided to change tactic and tried to pressure Joseph with dire consequences if he do not leave the nurse.

    The girl's family decided again to ask the authorities for help and filed a complaint at the police station in Sanghar. Once more, Muhammad's influence thwarted an investigation into the matter.

    In fact, police told Nazia that her tormentor now claimed that she was his wife, and that a family court would have to sort things out. This in turn caused an uproar in the Christian community and among moderate Muslims. The court eventually decided not to intervene in the case of false marriage.

    Still, Ghulam Muhammad did not give up and began threatening not only Nazia's relatives but also Sister Maria Khurshid, the head nun at Saint Teresa Hospital in Mir Purkhas and a close friend of Nazia. The nun called on the authorities to provide the nurse with protection, but failed even to get them to issue a warning against the Muslim man. The situation is now at an impasse.

    On Saturday, Muhammad filed another complaint to get police to force Nazia to marry him.

    "I feel unsafe and face many problems and threats," Nazia Masih told AsiaNews. "I am also angry because my family is in danger as a result of that person's behavior. We are Christians and poor. That is why these things always happen to us. In Pakistan, our honour and property are not safe."

    "This is shameful," said Fr John James, from the diocese of Karachi. "Such incidents should be strongly condemned by society. Countless Hindu girls are abducted every month from the interior of Sindh, and the authorities are silent about it. They need to do something to protect them. We call on the authorities to provide protection to Nazia Masih and her family."

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    See also

    29/05/2006 PAKISTAN
    Without evidence police arrest Christian on blasphemy charges
    A Christian from Karachi is arrested for allegedly sending blasphemous cellphone messages "as revenge for last month's attacks against churches by Muslims." Human rights activists demand that he not be remanded into police custody because too many people die in prison without trial.

    24/05/2016 16:25:00 PAKISTAN
    Lahore High Court rules on divorce law, ends marriage discrimination for Christians

    The 1869 law is restored. In 1981, under General Zia’s rule, an amendment was introduced that allowed Christian couples to divorce only in case of adultery. This chained women to violent and polygamous marriages, and forced Christians who wanted to end a marriage to convert to Islam.



    01/03/2011 PAKISTAN
    A 25-yr-old Christian woman dies of natural causes, doctors say, but body shows signs of violence
    Sadaat Masih was a nurse at a private hospital in the capital. Her body was found in the student hostel where she lived. Hospital administrators try to sweep the affair under the rug. Police refuses to open an investigation. Her family complains of an atmosphere of forced silence. A source in the medical facility points to the ambiguous role played by a Muslim male nurse.

    05/04/2007 PAKISTAN
    Life of 11-year-old Christian in danger even though he is not charged with anything
    Blasphemy accusations have been made against five Christians, the youngest a 16-year-old, after a quarrel between boys that was blamed on the 11-year-old. Local Christians are afraid that he might become the target of violence.

    30/05/2006 PAKISTAN
    Around 600 people a year are forcely converted to Islam

    A meeting about the practice was organized by the Minority Rights Commission of Pakistan. The courts were accused of being too dependent on their Islamic environment. A Catholic bishop said the feudal mentality and the economy also play a part.





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