By BosNewsLife Asia Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– A Christian girl working as a maid in Pakistan remained missing Tuesday, September 18, four days after she was allegedly “tortured” by her Muslim employees, rights activists said.
The September 14 incident reportedly came after Sumbal Masih, 15, worked two years at a house in the Model Town area of Lahore city with her younger sister, Sadaf Masih, and cousin, Rabiya.
“Suddenly the owners [of the house] came and started beating the poor girl for watching a movie on television,” claimed Farrukh H. Saif, executive director of the World Vision In Progress (WVIP) group, which supports the Christian family.
“They beat her so harshly using pipes or iron rods. Afterwards they took her to the washroom and tortured her over there terribly,” he added, quoting family members.
Her cousin Rabiya and other servants tried to intervene, but the stronger owners, identified as “Mr. and Mrs. Adeel”, forced them to leave the house, Saif said.
Rabiya told Sumbal’s parents about the incident but when they arrived, the Muslim owners reportedly claimed the girl had fled and that they “didn’t know anything about her.”
Saif said the Muslim couple initially also kept Sumbal’s sister, Sadaf, but after hours of negotiations with the girl’s mother, Basheera Bibi, they allowed her to leave the property.
“However they are still making excuses regarding Sumbal Masih,” Saif said.
In published remarks, WVIP local representative Nipoleon Qayyum added that he had been unable to find Sumbal as he was forced to sit in the lawn of the house for two long hours.
He said police eventually arrived, but it remained unclear why police they apparently refused to search the house.
There has been concerns among rights activists about police officials supporting influential Muslims in several parts of the country.
Police officials had no immediate comment.
WVIP said it had filed a petition at the session court to order the rescue of the
No action had been taken Tuesday, September 18.
“I believe she has been targeted because she is a Christian and her family is very poor,” Saif told BosNewsLife.
Minority Christians in Pakistan have complained of growing violence directed against them, at a time when the nation is also rocked by ongoing protests against a U.S.-produced anti-Islam film that was partly posted on the YouTube website.