04/20/2020 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – On April 11, a 7-year-old Christian girl from Talwandi village, located in the Kasur district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was kidnapped and assaulted by a Muslim man. According to local reports, the Christian girl was recovered by local villagers and the assailant was taken into custody.
On April 11, Nadia, a young Christian girl, was discovered to be missing at 7 p.m. when her father Boota Masih returned home. Immediately, Masih and other neighbors began to search for Nadia.
Ghulam Sabir, a Muslim resident of Talwandi, heard a cry coming from a nearby wheat field. There, Sabir found Nadia, who had been beaten and sexually assaulted, and her assailant, Muhammad Shoaib. Shoaib tried to escape, but he was captured, taken into custody, and formally arrested by local police (FIR # 299/20).
“I live in a house without a boundary wall,” Masih explained to International Christian Concern (ICC). “I am a single parent as Nadia’s mother died a few years back.”
Assaults on women and girls from Pakistan’s religious minority communities are unfortunately common. According to a study led by The Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, an estimated 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian community are assaulted, kidnapped, forcefully married to their assailant, and forcefully converted to Islam every year.
The issue of religion is often injected into cases of sexual assault to place religious minority victims at a disadvantage. Playing upon religious biases, assailants know they can cover up and justify their crimes by introducing an element of religion.
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