13-Year-Old Christian Girl Raped While Working in Field in Pakistan

ICC Note:

A 13-year-old Christians girl in Pakistan was attacked and raped while working in a field near the city of Gujranwala. According to reports, the assault happened on January 14 while the rest of her family was attending a wedding. Christian girls and women are often targeted for rape and forced conversion to Islam in Pakistan because of their vulnerable status as women and religious minorities. The Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan once reported that as many as 1,000 women from religious minorities are raped and forced to convert to Islam each year in Pakistan. 

01/24/2018 Pakistan (World Watch Monitor) – A 13-year-old Pakistani Christian girl was raped in a rural area near the city of Gujranwala, north of Lahore, on Sunday (14 January), as she worked in the fields.

The girl was found by her younger cousin, and taken to hospital. The local police station has registered a case and yesterday (16 January) the girl was taken to Lahore for a DNA examination.

Her father, whose name is being withheld to protect the girl’s identity, has spent over 30 years as a bonded laborer in the village, working under one man. There are only four Christian families in the village. All are extremely poor and work as laborers.

As the girl’s father, who has seven children, is now old and has severe asthma, his daughter helps him to take care of the cattle under his charge.

“My daughter works from early morning to noon everyday with the cattle and I accompany her,” he told World Watch Monitor. “It was Sunday and our family was attending a wedding, so my daughter went to work along with her younger cousin. When I returned and found she hadn’t come home, I went to check at the workplace. Near the fields, I found her cousin tied with her dopatta [a piece of cloth used for head covering].

“She told us that a man called Zaman Khan tied her and forcibly took my daughter to the fields, while injuring her with a sickle. When I reached the fields, she was still yelling for help.

“Hearing me approaching, Zaman fled from the scene, and we took my daughter to the hospital.”

Khan, 28, is from a nearby village and had been put to work under the same man only a few days before.

“When the landlord heard [about the incident], he got quite upset and got it announced in nearby mosques, and only because of his personal efforts was Zaman apprehended,” the girl’s father said. “The entire village is on our side despite only four Christian families living in the village.”

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