By BosNewsLife Asia Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Rights activists say Christian women and girls in Pakistan are facing a wave of terror that has already claimed at least one life and injured two others this year alone.
The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) says the terror has included a January 13 deadly incident in the city of Lahore where three young Christian girls, identified as Kiran, 17, Shamroza, 18, and Sumble, 20, were approached at night while walking home by four allegedly drunk Muslim men in a car.
Because the girls refused their sexual advances the men became enraged to the point that the driver targeted them with the car, according to investigators. Kiran died after she landed on the hood of the car, which had increased in speed before coming to an abrupt halt. Christians said the teen was catapulted through the air before falling to the ground.
The two other women received severe injuries and broken bones, rights activists said.
“Women have a low status in Pakistan, but none more so than Christian women who find themselves under the grip or terror, especially after this attack.” added Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA. “Evidence exists that some rogue imams declare that such acts of conversion through violence are rewarded in heaven, what a terrifying thought.”
This isn’t an isolated incident. Last year in November, American Center for Law and Justice affiliated group Organization for Legal Aid in Pakistan, reportedly prepared charges in the case of an 8-year-old Christian girl who was beaten and left naked on the streets by a Muslim family that wanted to punish her uncle for an interreligious relationship.
BPCA says it has started a petition for victims like Kiran, and set up a donations fund where people can financially contribute to the work that goes into helping Christian families.
“This act of violence should be met with the strong arm of the law. In any other nation the perpetrators would be arrested, convicted for murder and sentenced for a long term. In Pakistan, however, the poor go to prison and the wealthy commit whatever crime they wish with impunity. Violence against Christians is rarely
investigated and highly unlikely to be met with justice,” Chowdhry complained.
Additionally the BCPA says it has written to the British Embassy and the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, both in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, urging them to give a persecuted Christian mother of three a humanitarian visa and “allow her safety in the West”.
Fouzia Sadiq, 30, was allegedly abducted by a Muslim man who forced her to marry him and “convert” to Islam following an impromptu request for cleaning services at his home on July 23 2015. “Two days ago Fouzia Sadiq with the help of her brother Paris, was able to escape the clutches of Muhammed Nazir, 60, who
had tortured, raped and subjected her to a life of personal servitude.”
BosNewsLife published the names of the victim and suspect as they were already publicly identified.
At least 700 Christian women and girls in Pakistan are abducted, raped and forced into Islamic marriage every year – almost two a day, according to Christian rights groups.
Some of them have been accused of blasphemy against Islam, including Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five who has been on death row for nearly six years and faces execution by hanging under the country’s controversial blasphemy legislation.
Advocacy and aid group Open Doors says these and other incidents contributed to its decision to place the Asian nation number 8 on its annual World Watch List of 50 countries where it says Christians face severe persecution.
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