» 10/14/2010, 00.00
Violence against women and attacks on religious minorities on the rise in Pakistan
The families of the victims are often afraid to use the courts for fear of reprisals. The proposals of the Justice and Peace Commission to combat the phenomenon.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The cases of rape, and attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan are dramatically increasing, and 70% are in Punjab, according to Kashif Mazhar, vice-president of "Life for All". A phenomenon that has recently seen examples of great cruelty, in which the families of the victims are afraid to seek justice. A 13 year old Christian girl, Kiran Nayyaz, was raped last year and had a child. Her father, Nayyaz Masih told AsiaNews
: "I'm poor, working as a janitor at the school in Chak Jhumra. My daughter worked as a waitress, and I had complained before of being harassed. She was raped by a driver, Muahammad Yahweh, who then fled”.
Joseph Francis, National Director of CLAAS (Center for Legal Aid Assistance) told AsiaNews, "Nayiaz Masih and his family came to us, in shock, they were even afraid to talk about this incident. We gave them refuge. Kiran had a baby, and together with the Justice and Peace Commission we are working to see they get justice. "
Instead Father Anwer Patras has confirmed to AsiaNews news of the kidnapping, rape and murder of a Christian girl of 12, Lubna Masih in Rawalpindi. The incident occurred on September 27 last. Lubna Masih studied at Presentation Convent. On leaving her home around 18:30, she was followed by a group of five young Muslim men who then forced her into a car and drove away. Lubna tried to resist and shouted, but no one helped her. Her captors took her in an Islamic cemetery, Dhoka Ellah Buksh, raped and murdered her, and then they threw her body on the street.
Her father, Saleem Masih, told AsiaNews, "I still can not believe it happened. Those responsible are protected by influential local politicians. Two organizations have contacted us, ensuring protection. But I still don’t feel safe enough to report it”. Father Amer Anwer added: "The family is terrified, they do not want to go to court, they are still in chock." The Commission for Justice and Peace, in a study on the phenomenon, has launched a number of proposals. First, that there are women police and officers responsible for human rights at all police stations, to deal with crimes against women. Then, the discriminatory laws against women must be amended, and, finally, a form of legal protection for women and children against domestic violence.
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The girl worked in the household of a rich local lawyer, where she was subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Her death has outraged the Christian community, which is calling for justice. A human rights activist says 99 per cent of female Christian domestics work for Muslims and are often subject to violence and abuse.
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Women’s day in Pakistan: a police officer rapes a 14 year old Christian girl
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