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Pakistani Muslim Lawyer Rapes, Tortures

a Christian Girl to Death

Washington, D.C. (January 26, 2009)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Pakistani Muslim lawyer allegedly raped, tortured and killed a 12-year-old Christian in Lahore, Pakistan on January 22. Pakistani police initially attempted to cover up the murder but were forced to arrest the suspect after pressure from the local media.

The victim, Shazia Bashir Masih, had been working for the past eight months as a house servant at the home of Muhammad Naeem, her suspected killer.

Nasreen Bibi, Shazia’s mother, told ICC that she was forced to send her daughter to work for Muhammad Naeem’s household because of poverty and starvation. Mr. Naeem agreed to pay the family 1000 Pakistani Rupees ($12) per month for her services.

After raping, torturing and killing Shazia, Mr. Naeem came to Nasreen’s house and gave her 30,000 Pakistani Rupees ($352) and warned her to keep silent about the killing. Nasreen refused to accept the offer and reported the brutal murder of her daughter to the police at Litton Road Police Station. The police officers at the station refused to investigate the crime telling Nasreen that “a case against a lawyer cannot be registered.”

Shazia’s family proceeded to a protest in front of Punjab Provisional Assembly to expose the inaction of police. The protest was covered by the local media which further exposed the police cover-up.

Following the pressure from the family of the victim and the media coverage, the Pakistan officials arrested Muhammad Naeem along with his wife and daughter.

Pakistan ’s Minister of Minorities Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, announced a gift of 500,000 Pakistani Rupee ($ 5,913.20) to compensate the family of Shazia. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan ’s president, also promised to give a similar amount of money to the family. Chief Minister of Punjab , Shabaz Sharif, visited the grieved family and promised to take all measures possible to bring justice and to investigate the negligence of police in failing to arrest the suspects in a timely manner.

The Pakistani Christian Post reported that according to a statement by Pervaiz Iqbal, a Pakistani Christian leader, Shazia’s murder is another sign of “escalation of violence and hate crimes against Christians in Pakistan .”

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and South Asia, Jonathan Racho, said “The torture and killing of Shazia is another example of the severe persecution that Christians are facing in Pakistan . This case also highlights the typical negligence of Pakistani police in investigating crimes against Christians unless pressured by the media. We urge Pakistani officials to end this culture of police negligence. We also call upon the officials of Pakistan to swiftly investigate the murder of Shazia and punish the culprits.”

Please pray for God to comfort family of Shazia and for justice to be served properly. Also, pray for the persecuted body of Christ in Pakistan .