Christian women forced to parade naked

LAHORE: Christian women were attacked and paraded naked by a mob with the support of the ruling party, said a press released issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

Three Christian women – Arshad Bibi, Sajida Bibi and Sauriya Bibi – the daughter-in-laws of Sadiq Masih, a resident of Sereser Chak No 21, Kasur, were brutally beaten and then paraded naked by armed men employed by Muhammad Munir, the son of Abdul Rasheed, a landlord who has the support of the ruling party, the PML-N. The incident occurred on the night of June 3 when the male members of the family were attending to their jobs. The attackers, armed with weapons and batons, were able to enter the house by scaling the boundary wall and unlocking the gate from the inside. At that time, the women were sleeping in the house along with their father-in-law Sadiq Masih, 73, and mother-in-law Rani Bibi, 70.

The mob, lead by Muhammad Munir, Abrahim, Muhammad Rafique and their sons Ahmed, Asif, Abid, Wassem, Waqas and Shabir and three unidentified persons, entered the house. When the attackers invaded the house, they started looking for the sons of Sadiq Masih, checking all the rooms and throwing their belongings about. When they could not find his sons, they started beating the three women.

The party workers then took the three Christian women out into the street where the lights were on and tore their clothes off.

Then they started shouting to attract the attention of the people nearby, to let them see the extent of the revenge and the power of the landlord. Nobody dared to stop them as the attackers were holding weapons. Due to the victim’s screaming and shouting, some elderly people of the village came out and put their turbans on the feet of the attackers as a sign of high respect and honour. After this, the attackers released the women but threatened the villagers that if they complained about the incident they would face more trouble.

While this was going on, somebody called in the police, and after much time the officers arrived. Instead of taking action against the attackers, the police tried to calm down the mob, which was protesting against the incident.

The cause of the incident was apparently that on two occasions some goats belonging to the Christians had entered the fields of the landlord, Munir, who claimed that they had damaged his crops. As the goats belonged to the Christians, Munir confiscated them.

On the morning of the incident, Shaukat, the son of Sadiq Masih, approached Munir in the company of his sisters-in-law and requested him to release their goats. Munir refused to do so and stared beating him. Munir slapped him many times and cursed him. When Shoukat, in retaliation, slapped him back, Munir became furious and threatened him. It was this incident that lead to the revenge attack. At this time, they also injured Sadiq Masih, who received several injuries to his leg.

On June 4, Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill, National Director at LEAD (Legal Evangelical Association Development) was informed by Rev Saleem Gill to give legal aid and assistance to the harassed family. Advocate Gill visited the victims and collected the details of the case and approached the Pattoki deputy superintendent of police (DSP) for the registration of a case. Consequently, an FIR was registered against the landlord and his henchmen under numbers 231/13 of Section 452, 354, 337/FI, 149,148 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The victims received a certificate from the Punjab Health Department mentioning the injuries that they suffered, but the police did not take action against the perpetrators, either for the humiliation of parading the women naked or the violence perpetrated on them.

Instead, the police quickly filed a case against the Christians under FIR 234/13 under sections 440, 379, 148 and 149 of the PPC on behalf of the landlord. This came as no surprise to the victims as it is a common practice of the local Muslims to create pressure on the Christian community to withdraw FIRs. One member of the National Assembly, Rana Ishaq, from the ruling party, the PML-N, is forcing the police not to act against the perpetrators, as they are also supporters of the ruling party. pr

Source: Daily Times

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