Both Christian and Muslim activists are condemning the abduction, rape, and torture of a 12-year-old Christian girl by three Muslim men in Pakistan. The abduction and forced conversion of women and girls from minority communities continues to be a major problem in Pakistan with some groups claiming that hundreds of women are affected each year. Widespread discrimination against religious minorities and women has left these victims particularly vulnerable to radicals. Will Pakistan start taking steps to end this problem?
10/27/2017 Pakistan (Asia News) – A 12-year-old Christian girl was kidnapped, raped and tortured with cigarette butts by three Muslim men in Sheikhupura, Punjab.
Reacting to the latest case of anti-Christian violence, activists, both Christian and Muslim, spoke to Asia News to condemn it in no uncertain terms.
The girl’s name is Meshal, a six grader. Her mother told a Pakistani television channel that she went to the police to file a complaint, but the agents refuse to file the case or start a criminal investigation. Punjab Chief Minister Mian Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif was informed of the incident today.
Activist Shahid Anwar condemns, “This brutal act of persecution of a [member of a] religious minority. In Pakistan, girls are often taken, raped and converted by force. The competent authorities did not take any action.”
For the girl, “things are twice as bad. First, because she belongs to a religious minority. Secondly, because she is a woman. What is more, when minors go to police to file complaints, they are not treated the same way as other citizens, and their complaints are not taken seriously.”
“Minorities are vulnerable and marginalized, so they are easy targets,” said Benish Patras, coordinator of the National Justice and Peace Commission. “Local authorities and institutions must investigate and register the charges against perpetrators. The government must also ensure the application of laws against honor crimes and rape.”
“Our country has no good reputation when it comes to the defense of minority rights,” said Muhammad Aamir Kakkazai, an Islamic writer and researcher. “Poor people have no rights and minorities are even worse. They suffer discrimination at all levels of society, from the state to private employment. They are victims of intolerant attitudes even in public.”