(Voice of the Persecuted) Two Christian girls were kidnapped and raped by a group of Muslim men. Two of the criminals were arrested, three are still at large in the city of Jaranwala in Punjab.
The victims are defended by Christian lawyers, who reported these incidents to Agenzia Fides. Another case regards a 13-year-old Christian girl, who was kidnapped and raped. The third case reported to Fides concerns two girls abducted and abused by a group of human traffickers who forced them into prostitution, always in Punjab.
The phenomenon of girls of religious minorities kidnapped, raped and in some cases, forced to Islamic marriage, is endemic in Pakistan and, according to Fides sources, affects about one thousand girls every year. It is part of the condition of subordination of women in Pakistani society, especially in rural areas, but women belonging to religious minorities are doubly vulnerable. Notes a source of Fides, given that Muslim men feel they are guaranteed impunity in committing such abuse and are often backed by the police and the judiciary. We too have heard this by our contacts as a sure cause of the ongoing rise of abuse.
Pakistan grossly lacks protection of human rights for women, children and religious minorities, which subjects them to outrageous cruelty.Horrific violence is perpetrated against women, teens and young girls (including kidnapping, torture, rape, forced marriages), discrimination against religious minorities, force conversions, the misuse of blasphemy law, modern-day slavery through the illegal practice of bonded labor, sectarian violence—targeted mob killings and deadly attacks on Christians and other religious minorities.
Last November, in response to the barbaric murder of a Christian couple thrown into a burning furnace by an enraged Muslim mob, VOP wrote a letter to the U.S. government and the United Nations to pressure the Pakistani government to take action. Globally, many have condemned the heinous acts of violence against Christians and religious minorities in Pakistan. We’ve yet to see an improvement by the Pakistani government for their protection, nor firm punishments put in place to deter perpetrators from violence. The abusers are often released and never face any type of criminal charges.
Christians continue to languish in prisons on controversial charges of blasphemy against Islam, which potentially carries the death penalty. Such is the internationally known case of Asia Bibi, a mother of 5 sentenced to death for charges of blasphemy she maintains are false. Obvious discrimination has been shown in her case.
Religious political parties have been known to squash the government’s intentions to amend or repeal discriminatory laws, with threats of boycotts and countrywide violent protests. These religious parties are mainly silent of persecution against minorities, or the severe humiliation and abuse of Pakistani women and children. Religious political parties are equally responsible for the plight of human rights, as part of the democratic system and having more influence in the country. Plain and simple, they must be held accountable for their role in advancing and securing human rights for all Pakistani citizens.
Countries most frequently cited for the most aggressive laws banning free expression are Saudi Arabia, China and Pakistan.
Freedom of religion is a cornerstone right for all other fundamental human rights. It must be advanced, and vigorously guarded everywhere in the world. Fierce protection of the rights of women and children must also be implemented in all nations. Until then, the violent rape of these two Christian girls will continue to be reported again and again against others. We will also continue to see more minorities leaving to seek safety in other nations further burdening immigration departments. Many of these asylum seekers never wanted to leave their families and homeland, they were forced. Special exceptions should be made for Christian asylum seekers in Western nations…they’re running out of safe places where their human rights will be protected.
Let us pray for those without human rights, rights that we in the West often take for granted. And please, don’t remain silent. Let us speak out to encourage others to pray. Let us be their VOICE and wake up the world to this abuse.
Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.