CANADA FREE PRESS--Two Christian girls in Pakistan’s Punjab province were brutally raped in recent weeks. On July 22, a group of madrassa (Islamic school) students gang-raped a 12-year-old Christian girl in Gujar Khan, Rawalpindi district. A teacher who reportedly witnessed the rape stated:
“Three or four Christian girls were washing dishes near a pond…. These guys ran towards them, and the girls started running. One of them fell on the ground, and these madrassa students got hold of her and took her in the fields. I tried to stop them, but they were 15-16 in number.” Seven or eight of the boys reportedly then raped the girl while the others looked on. Before the attack began, the teacher overheard one of the students say, “We will teach these Christians a lesson they will never forget.”
The Christian girl, whose name has been withheld, was left in the field until some villagers eventually took her home to her family. The girl’s father and the teacher have attempted to file a complaint but the officer in charge has refused to comply. Another officer has since admitted that they are under pressure from Muslim leaders and extremists to refrain from filing a report. The madrassa students had reportedly been harassing believers in the surrounding villages, beating and threatening Christian children to convert to Islam or leave the area.
A 16-year-old Christian girl, whose name has also been withheld, was raped by three men on July 21 in Farooqabad. The three men, who work for the same Muslim employer as her father, overpowered her while she was at home. They then raped her while threatening that they would shoot her in the forehead if she screamed for help. The next morning, the girl’s father, Ghafoor Masih, went to the police station to file a report but the Station House Officer Inspector refused his requests. However, due to pressure from a superior officer, the Inspector finally registered the complaint on July 29. While Ghafoor was on his way home from filing the report, two other Muslims who work for his employer reportedly intercepted and kidnapped him. The men took Ghafoor to their employer’s home where they and another employee shackled and tortured him, leaving him in critical condition. At last report, several of the perpetrators had been arrested. “Muslim landowners and their relatives see Christian girls or women as their chattel,” the national director of the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement said. “Such vicious incidents are not being stopped by the government, and day by day the rate of rapes of Christian girls is escalating instead of plunging.”