By ICC’s Pakistan Correspondent
8/25/2014 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Christian women continue to face a unique and brutal form of persecution in Pakistan’s religiously intolerant society. Christian women are among Pakistan’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens due to the face that they are both the “wrong” religion and the “wrong” gender. Abductions, forced conversions to Islam, forced marriages to Muslim men and rapes are just some of the issues faced Christian women in Pakistan. Living on perhaps the lowest rung of society, many Christian women have their futures destroyed by these heinous acts of violence visited upon them simply because of their faith.
Muqadas Liaqat, a 15-year-old Christian girl, was gang raped by two Muslim men on August 2 at Baghwanpura, a neighborhood in Lahore. The FIR number 991/14 was registered against the two Muslim attackers, Ashraf and Muhammad Ghafoor, at the local police station shortly after the attack. According to sources, both of the accused were arrested and are reported to still be in police custody.
Talking with ICC’s Pakistan correspondent, Muqadas, who works as maid (domestic worker) in several Muslim homes, said, “I was coming home in the afternoon along with my elder sister Asma, when four people including two men and two women stopped us on the road and started beating us and abusing us. They beat my sister and dragged me into an auto-rickshaw. The kidnappers forcefully put some liquid into my mouth, which made me unconscious for a while.”
“Both the men took turns raping me and the women threatened me and my family if I spoke out against them,” Muqadas continued.
Mukhtaran Bibi, Muqadas’s mother, informed ICC that, “Muqadas was to be baptized on the day of the incident. She was very happy for this blessing since the morning; however, this incident has affected her spiritual and social life.”
“This incident has brought Muqadas to become very depressed. She is continuously on edge and cries during the whole night. I demand justice and protection of all the Christian women in Pakistan,” Mukhtaran added.
Liaqat Masih, Muqadas’s father, was reluctant to share information regarding the case due to threats by what he termed were “other parties.” Despite the threats, he told ICC, “My family is under pressure and facing countless challenges because of this inhuman incident. We Christians are being persecuted in this society because of our faith. However, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.”
Gulnaz Yousaf, Chairperson of DIGNITY First, an organization engaged in promoting dignity, rights and protection for all Pakistani citizens, condemned the incident and demanded justice and security for the victim family. “Christians are treated as ‘untouchables’ in this country and do not enjoy equal rights. The dignity of women, especially Christian women and women from other religious minority groups, must be recognized and promoted in Pakistan,” Gulnaz said in an interview with ICC.
Unfortunately, the attack endured by Muqadas is only the latest in a pandemic stretching across Pakistan in recent years. Christian women are too often the targets of brutal attacks because of their low social status caused their religious identity and gender. With a society and legal system that are both biased against non-Muslims and women in general, pursuing justice is near impossible, especially for Christian women who often come from meager financial backgrounds.
Because of stories like Muqadas’s, International Christian Concern (ICC) has made it a priority to help Christian women in Pakistan. From projects aimed at empowering Christian women to pursue justice, to assisting Christian women to achieve higher social and financial standing, ICC hopes it can help make stories like Muqadas’s a part of a horrific past for Christian women in Pakistan.
*If you are interested in assisting Christian women in Pakistan, please check out and donate to ICC’s Save Our Sisters Fund.