- Friday, October 23, 2015
- by Wilson Chowdhry
BPCA’s Mehwish Bhatti (holding child) meets Elishba Bibi and her family
On 16 of November 2014 a pregnant 28 year old woman Elishba Bibi was attacked in the Christian Colony at Rana Town, Sheikhupura. The attack by Muneeb and Mobeel Gondal was in response to an argument she had with their mother and sister over money for beauty treatments they had received from Elishba . The two men brutally beat her with metal rods, publicly stripped her naked and dragged her through the streets for her humiliation, which resulted in the miscarriage of her three-month old embryo. In the attack not only was she denied payment for the treatments she had provided, but the two sons took her gold chain, mobile phone and her salary from her purse. The severity of the beating caused her to pass out. While this act of violence took place many Muslims in the local community cursed her for being a Christian, and ridiculed her even going as far as saying ‘Christian babies are just faeces’. Later a kind local Christian woman picked her up, clothed her and helped her home.
Back in 2104 the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) launched an appeal to replace the mobile phone, gold jewellery and lost salary for Elishba. Thankfully donors moved by the plight and pain of this formerly expectant mother responded to the need and we raised enough funds to complete the provision. Unfortunately the charity who had promised to guide us to Elishba decided to miss the appointment, and they are no longer in existence after the trustees were accused of being involved in a murder investigation.
However, this left us with a huge dilemma of having raised funds for a purpose that we could not spend them on. The BPCA tried over the last year to get in contact with the mother and thankfully Shamim Masih traced her secret whereabouts. A visit by Shamim, together with our young Lahore officer Naveed, resulted in us buying food for Elishba as we found her in extreme poverty due to her having fled her home and now being in hiding. Despite her pain, humiliation and the loss of her child this poor woman and her surviving children have become the victims.
Elishba Bibi lives in a very rural community now at a place called Mureedkay outside Lahore. The place where she lives is extremely dishevelled and comprises of one brick built room with a temporary straw roof. They have little furniture and live a very spartan life but they are confident that God is with them.
Elishba lost a £300 gold chain that was her wedding jewellery and on our latest visit, Pakistan Officer Mehwish Bhatti replaced the chain. Gold jewellery has a different cultural connotation in Pakistan, and the loss of wedding jewellery is felt very keenly. Athough the BPCA does not endorse such cultural belief, we uphold the rights for people to follow traditions of their choice. When the jewellery was replaced for Elishba, Mehwish explained that this was a gift from the global Christian community and that God had His hands of protection and love over her. Elishba broke down in tears at this point, and said:
“Our God is greater than all other Gods He is the maker of everything. I am grateful to all the donors who helped me, but I thank God most of all for He has shown me that nothing is impossible.”
Mehwish Bhatti reveals the new replacement gold chain for Elishba.
Elishba’s original reaction was one of disbelief as it was difficult for her to comprehend that her gold chain had been replaced, but the joy which soon covered her face was remarkable and a sight to see. Her children were elated to see their mother happy, something they had rarely seen of late. Elishba phoned her brother immediately to share her news and they shared a moment of tenderness despite being distant in location.
Elishba for a while was forced to teach her own children a very basic learning and has done well considering her limitations. However, with the help of our donors, the BPCA have taken on the expense of putting her children through formal education. Her extremely bright children had not been going to school for five months due to unpaid school fees. Yet when Mehwish checked the school results from the previous exams taken by the children, it was evident they were competent students in the top 5% of their classes. Moreover, one child was sitting right at the top of her year group. BPCA has paid for 5 months of school fees but we need to raise more funds if we are to see the children through to the academic excellence they are quite clearly capable of. We require £20 per month per child to make this happen, her four children Badal (11 years) Prem (9years) Anum (7years) and Pari (4years) will need help for the foreseeable future.
Currently Elishba is working as a maid at one house and her husband sells sun glasses in the local market so their earnings are not sufficient to take care of the children and family. Before the attack Elishba and her husband had much better income streams but they remain upbeat about their future and God’s plan for their lives.
Mehwish Bhatti said:
“We hope and pray that we are able to expand this help for Elishba. Her children are some of the brightest I have met during my work with the BPCA and with the help of donors they could become great contributors to society.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:
“To have finally served Elishba has been a humbling experience. We felt so distraught when we could not find her and I almost started to believe it would not happen. However, now God has enabled us to contribute to her life and to help her lose the demons of the past that have haunted her for so long. The callous nature of her attack proves that Christians are deemed worthless by the majority and not minority of Muslims in Pakistan. Many stared and laughed at her cursing her for being a Christian while she was stripped naked, beaten, robbed and her child was murdered. I doubt I could survive in such degrading societal conditions and her positivity in light of her situation strengthens my resolve to help.”
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Sort Code: 20-44-22
Account number: 43163318
Ref: Love for Elishba Bibi
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BRITISH PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION is a trading name for BRITISH PAKISTANI CHRISTIANS LTD which is a charity entered onto the Register of Charities with the Registered Charity Number 1163363
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Pakistani Christians.
Elishba displays her new chain.
Seeing Elishba smile was worth every penny spent.
Mehwish Bhatti praying with Elishba’s family.