Harrowing tales from Pakistan

Suggest you only read one section at a time!

Dear All,

I truly hope you have had a wonderful Valentine’s Day spending time with some of the people you love: friends, significant others, siblings or parents. Traditionally it’s a day for those in romantic relationships in Britain but in some nations such as Pakistan this day has become one that encompasses all whom you love.

Sadly for many young Christian women in Pakistan the idea of romance was lost on the day that they were kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriage. Sadly there are many stories which have been reported on the BPCA blog. You may be wondering how does this happen? Commonly girls of only twelve are invited to go shopping with their friends and whilst out they bump into their friend’s uncle on the street and agree to be chauffeured around by him, then are told they will have a short stop for tea at their friend’s home where they are then brutally raped by the men of the house and then either forced to marry one of them and live a life of servitude and debauchery or work as a prostitute in Christian brothels run by their ‘husband’. It is truly heartbreaking and an unthinkable fate to befall any girl or woman, let alone ones so young and innocent. Today my wife and I prayed together for some of these victims and we have both committed ourselves to helping them more fervently in 2016.  One way we would like to help this year is by purchasing a safe house for victims and their families.  Our projected costs for this facility are £25,000.  The property would provide temporary shelter and access to rehabilitation and trauma counselling.  Our volunteers will manage the property.  If you would like to contribute towards this project please use our usual payment details with reference: Love for Pak-Christian Women.

Last week, by the grace of God, the BPCA team were able to help emancipate a Christian woman who had been captured and forced into Islamic marriage by the Muslim landlord who she worked for as a bonded labourer. Despite being free for a week she has still not been able to open up about what happened to her and may well find it extremely traumatic for a much longer period. She has undoubtedly been through a hellish nightmare, but that is not the end of her woes. Since her escape, which was coordinated by smuggling a phone through another bonded labourer cleaning the same house, police have visited her parental home twice calling for her to be arrested or for a family member be arrested in her place. Her elderly parents have chosen to remain in their home but her siblings have been moved to safety in a BPCA home far away from the torturous village of Kasur where Christians slave for Muslim landlords in brick kilns and where Shama and Shazad were burnt alive last year.

This family are in dire need of assistance and our appeal for them has been set as our highest priority due to their predicament. As of yet no FIR has been registered against the family by local police but a number of visits have reiterated how easy it is for false allegations to be laid against Christians to subdue them to the will of Islamists. We are seeking costs for the rental of a home for these victims, for the regular daily needs such as food, clothes and medicine, for the purchase of passports and for the costs for advocacy. In our opinion living in Pakistan has become untenable for Fouzia and her siblings, they will not survive fugitive status if they are deemed criminals. The family have accused her of stealing gold from their property – an allegation refutable by our lead officer who helped with the escape, and as the property of her husband, her escape aided by her brother could be deemed a kidnap by Sharia driven Pak-authorities. With this in mind we are also asking you to challenge western nations (preferably those you live in as citizen status empowers you), to allow asylum to the family. This email has been sent to Australian MPs, British MEPs and British MPs but this should not stop you doing the same. An idea for a letter and email addresses for some western embassies in Islamabad can be found using this link (click here).

In another incident two Christian girls were forcibly married after being abducted as revenge for an interfaith marriage between a Muslim girl and a male from their family.  We are seeking to help them too (click here)

This is our most pressing campaign yet and we pray you will all get behind us and do your bit to end the suffering of an estimated 700 Christian girls brutalised in this fashion every year. By bringing Fouzia to the west we will have an eye witness account of the harrowing experiences Christian women in Pakistan have to face.

This is not our only report this newsletter we also report on:

  • Our help and outreach to a frantic Muslim teenager who cut off his own hand after being accused of blasphemy
  • Kiran Masih’s family forgive killers who mowed her down
  • Kasur outreach
  • Lord Alton leading debate on asylum for genocide victims that will in essence prioritise Christians
  • Persecution in Pakistan at an all time high
  • Help for for victims of Charsadda attack

We have also added some of the stories from our last distribution.

Please continue to pray for Pakistan.

Wilson Chowdhry

Christian Sisters Abducted and Forced into Islamic Marriage

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Image of family of Tahira and Reema Bibi

As the world looks on two more Christian women have been abducted, raped and forced into Islamic marriage. Two sisters Tahira (21 years) and Reema Bibi (20 years) were kidnapped from near their home in Sargodha, Pakistan on December 2nd 2015, whilst travelling home from work. Their kidnap is believed to be an act of retaliation for a perceived dishonour.

Apparently the girls were targeted as one of the male members of their family had eloped with a Muslim girl who had willingly married her Christian lover.

The young women were abducted by two Muslim men, Muhammad Mustafa (29 years) and Muhammad Kashif (30 years), who lived locally in an area named Chak 38 Janubi. Despite living in an existing marriage with two young children Mustafa raped and forced Tahira to marry him in the usual route for forced conversion in Pakistan. Muhammed Kashif repeated the practice on Reema and both women were then held captive at a location in Islamabad.

Shamim Masih, BPCA reporter, said:

“The family are in grave danger and are already receiving threats from Muslim groups and the Police. Their situation is sadly not uncommon in Pakistan and is a product of years of inculcated hatred towards minorities. In my opinion there is little hope for justice for this family whilst they remain in Pakistan.”

Tahira, the eldest of the two sisters, escaped the clutches of the Muslim abductors in February and on the 11th of February police officers duly arrested six of the male members of her family, after a First Incident Report was filed at the behest of the lecherous Muhammed Kashif. Police have released the six male men after pressure from several humanitarian groups but have demanded that the family return Tahira to her husband Muhammed Kashif.

Read full story (click here)

Unshakeable conference – Nissar Hussain surprise guest

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On Saturday 12th March British Pakistani Christian Association have been invited to hold a stall at the Unshakeable Conference to be held at:

East London Tabernacle
ELT BAPTIST CHURCH
BURDETT ROAD
MILE END
LONDON
E3 4TU

The event will be a chance for in-depth teaching and equipping by some of the world’s foremost apologists. Invited speakers include:

Nabeel Qureshi Author of ‘Seeking God finding Jesus’

Andy Bannister Director and leading apologist for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

The organisers have also invited Nissar Hussain to share his testimony and we encourage you to come out and support him.

Tickets are priced at £10 – £12 and are worth every penny.

Christian Woman Escapes Muslim Abductor who Raped and Forced her into Islamic Marriage

Please sign our petition (click here)

A Muslim man forcibly married and converted a Christian woman to Islam after he abducted her following an impromptu request for cleaning services at his residence on 23rd July 2015. Two days ago Fouzia Sadiq (30 years), with the help of the BPCA, was able to escape the clutches of Muhammed Nazir (60 years) who had tortured, raped and subjected her to a life of personal servitude.

Fouzia is now in a place of safety but remains in a country with a poor sense of justice, especially for Christians, and she can have no future there. The BPCA have written to the British Embassy and the UNHCR, both in Islamabad, calling for her to be given a humanitarian visa to allow her safety in the west.

Fouzia Sadiq, a mother of three children, worked as a bonded labourer (modern day slave) at the brick kilns of Muhammed Nazir. Although this practice is ostensibly illegal since 1990 under the Bonded Labor Act, the practice continues to pervade Pakistani society and economy through a lack of passion by the authorities to wipe out the ancient feudal practice. The family of Fouzia are all bonded labourers under the same agreement signed by the grandfather, who signed a contract with a thumb print at a time of need for the princely sum of £30. Sadly the buy out clause for each slave is around £1000 so generation after generation of this family have been subjected to this illegal working agreement unable to pay the extortionate price for their freedom. Fouzia’s hours were shared between cleaning the home of Muhammed Nazir and working on the brick kiln, many other pretty Christian girls were also required to clean the home of the lecherous landlord where they have been subjected to ogling, harassment and unwanted sexual advances from him and other males within the home. Fouzia Bibi was not the first girl to abducted for his home and it is believed that she will not be the last. In a travesty of justice Fouzia’s family had to remain in the custody of the landlord, despite her kidnap, and have been forced to continue working for the abductor to their chagrin. We moved them away temporarily but had to return them to the place of their great hurt so we could enact the escape.

Read full story (click here)

Kasur Outreach Meeting

Our last Christmas Outreach programme took place in one of the villages near Kasur on 2nd January 2015, where our aim was to reach those who are living on extreme margins in communities rejected by society. Christmas is a time for all Christians to rejoice and celebrate, but every year so many Christians in Pakistan struggle to even hold church due to a total lack of resources and those in Kasur are a paradigm for such suffering. When the BPCA team reached the village, we were given an extremely warm welcome by local Christians, this of course was because of the intense flood rehabilitation programme we enacted in the area.

Local Pastor Rehan and the church administration helped to conduct the programme and the BPCA greatly appreciated their efforts.
Our aim in holding the outreach was to increase the knowledge of God and His love amongst the villagers of whom 80 were in attendance. We began the meeting with a time of worship and the community participated enthusiastically praising God for His goodness. Pastor Rehan’s sermon highlighted how we can walk in God’s blessing and in the knowledge of Him. The bible says in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”, they are not destroyed for lack of material possessions or for lack of money, and it was important to proclaim the word of God in order that people received understanding and knowledge of Him who is the source of all blessings.

Read full story (click here)

Muslim Teen Amputates Own Hand Following Blasphemy Allegation

Mohammad Anwar, a 15 year old Muslim teenager from Hujra Shah Muqeem district, Okara 125 kilometres away from Lahore, chopped off his own hand believing he had mistakenly committed a blasphemy. The incident took place on 11th January 2015 after the teenager raised his hand by mistake after apparently mishearing a question raised by his chief cleric during a meeting at his local mosque.

At the mosque gathering the imam (religious leader equivalent to pastor) told attendees that people who love the prophet Muhammad will recite their daily prayers without fail. He then asked the crowd if there was anyone who does not love the prophet and who had failed on their regular prayers. Anwar raised his hand in error after having misheard the question believing raising his hand was an acknowledgement of his love for the prophet.

The raising of his hand caused an immediate negative reaction and the assembled crowd became extremely hysterical. The imam himself reacted immediately by declaring Mohammad Anwar a blasphemer. In a panic Mohammad picked himself up and ran out of the mosque whilst shoes were being thrown at him, men were baying for his blood as he left the mosque and some even laid chase. He managed to esacpe into the safety of his home and went straight to the barn inside their residential compound, where he knew a threshing saw was available to him. In a fit of blind panic and religious zeal he placed his hand on the threshing plate and turned the blade cutting off his ‘offending’ hand in one swift move. He then placed the haram (sinful) hand on a plate and delivered it personally to the imam, who then absolved him of his sins.

Read full story (click here)

Lord Alton calls for Prioritisation of Asylum Seekers Suffering Genocide

Image of Lord Alton with Wilson Chowdhry and BPCA guests in Thailand to discuss crises of thousands of stranded Pakistani Christian Asylum seekers in Bangkok.

Last night the House of Lords debated an amendment which would require consideration to be given to declaring events in Syria and Iraq as a genocide and to prioritise asylum arrangements for those who have been affected.

The all-party amendment received support from all sides of the House – including Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Welsh Nationalist and Independent Peers.

At the conclusion of the debate (see below) the Home Office Minister, Lord Bates, agreed to give the proposal further consideration. The movers have indicated that if agreement cannot be reached they will call a vote at the next stage. If successful the House of Commons would then be given a vote.

Please draw this to the attention of those who are concerned about the plight of minorities such as Yazidis and Christians.

Read full story (click here)


Parents of Kiran Masih (RIP) choose love and forgive her murderers.



BPCA Officer Mehwish Bhatti prays with Sumble.

On 13th January 2016 BPCA reported on the tragic killing of Kiran Masih, who died after rejecting the advances of several inebriated Muslim boys in a maroon vehicle. Many witnesses saw the incident which occurred at the busy time of 9pm in Lahore, a city known for its night time economy with shoppers out till early morning.

The driver involved in the incident was caught and arrested and is still incarcerated, however apparently his family have met with the three affected families of the victims Sumble, Shamroza and Kiran Masih (RIP) and have expressed their great sympathy and pain at the actions of their son. Kiran’s father died two years ago from a heart attack

The mother of Kiran Masih, Suriya Bibi described the meeting, she said:

“The family of the driver have expressed great sorrow for all the victims and have asked for forgiveness for them and their young son. We have all shed a great load of tears and nothing can bring my daughter back. I am very angry and upset by the loss of my daughter but punishing the young man who has taken my daughter away from me will not bring her back. I have decided not to take action against him as I and my family do not want to go through the court process which will only increase the hurt we feel. so we have decided to show love and compassion and have forgiven the family. Our Lord Jesus Christ forgave those that persecuted Him and we have chosen to follow his example.”

Read full story(click here)  

Charsadda Victims Revisted

  • 28-Jan-2016
  • Wilson Chowdhry

 

Muhammed Rahman’s family – he was the first to be shot in the recent terror attack at Bacha University, Pakistan.

Intent on helping the victims of the Charsadda attack our young intrepid officer Mehwish Bhatti travelled to the scene of the terrorist attack (click here). The site was a hollow place and is still closed as the faculty and students come to terms with the recent targeting of their education centre. Those who were present during the attack will need time to heal and recover from serious trauma, but despite this Mehwish reports back to me that few if any are receiving any counselling.

Mehwish travelled to the hospital and gave flowers and fruit to all the patients who were grateful for the company and counsel with some even asking Mehwish to pray for them.

She then travelled to the homes of the victims she could trace, which was quite difficult due to the university being closed. The first family she reached was that of Mr Muhammed Rahman, a school driver. Muhammed was the very first victim of the attack and bravely tried to stop the gunmen when he saw them enter the school premises menacingly with their guns. As he ran towards one of the militants he was shot in the forehead at close range which killed him instantly.

Read full story (click here)

Pak-Christians mourn the loss of slain victims of Charsadda attack

Wilson Chowdhry presents flowers of condolence to Naghma Khan PA to the High Commissioner for Pakistan in UK.

Today 25th January 2016, British Pakistani Christian Association’s Wilson and Juliet Chowdhry visited the High Commission for Pakistan to the UK and delivered a sheaf of flowers in memory to the innocent lives lost in Pakistan’s most recent terror attack at Charsadda (click here).

Young men and women seeking to develop their academic abilities to empower future careers that would benefit the nation of Pakistan, were killed and maimed in an unprovoked and unwarranted grenade and gun attack. The seven hour debacle at Bacha University is believed to have taken 31 innocent lives and injured a further 18. One of the fatalities was a brave chemistry professor who first instructed students were to run and hide before holding up the attackers, despite knowing it would mean certain death to him.

Read full story (click here)

Persecution of Christians in Pakistan Reportedly at all-time High


Qaisor Pervaiz one of the survivors of the Lahore bomb attack
(click here)  

The recently released ‘World Watch List 2016’ has shown that Pakistan has unfortunately moved up to sixth place for how badly Christians are treated. In 2015 it had ranked at number 8. Now they rank it as just after Syria, where ISIS is slaughtering Christians on a regular basis, and just before Somalia, which last year was ranked the second worst in the world after North Korea. Currently, only North Korea, Iraq, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Syria were worse for Christians, whilst Pakistan is considered worse even than the deeply oppressive Iran and Sudan. After an initial look at the research, BPCA researchers noted that in fact Syria, Pakistan and Somalia were scored equally (to give rankings nations are rated out of 100 – these three nations are all scored at 84).

“We don’t know how exactly they sorted out the rankings when the scores are the same, but to put it in perspective, Afghanistan, where the Taliban are increasingly running rampant, is only one point above, at 85. This gives an idea of the increasing severity of the situation in Pakistan for Christians, and why the UK government should give far more consideration to the reality in both funding aid and dealing with Christian asylum seekers who manage to escape, or who do not want to return because of the threat after studying here and so on. In addition, it shows the reality on the ground is still worsening, despite some tentative and fragile actions by the authorities that are sometimes claimed as small signs of hope.”

Read full story (click here)

Refugee boys medication costs push family into starvation.

There are many Christian asylum seekers of Thailand, particularly in Bangkok. The UN says there are about 7000 Pakistani Christians in the Country but many believe the figure is much higher. Because these Christians do not have refugee status, they are not allowed to work, and so have no legal income.

One sufferer is Hanook Rehan, the 8 year old son of Rehan Maqbool. He had been suffering an itching complaint for the past several months and was diagnosed with scabies. His hands were covered with red spots and a painful rash which have left severe and marks due to the awful skin disease.

Hanook was admitted to Rajavithi Hospital from 29th December 2015 till 8th January 2016. His treatment costs 13,000 Baht of which the Bangkok Refugee Center (BRC) paid 5,000 Baht (100 Pounds). The family are living off handouts and were unable to pay the balance. The hospital staff recognising their inability to pay agreed terms for payment by instalments.

Read full story (click here)

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