Monday, September 12, 2011

Pakistan: Muslim men ’kidnap’ Christian girl in Gujranwala to ’purify her’

Sunday, September 11, 2011 By Jawad Mazhar Special Correspondent for ANS, reporting from Pakistan

GUJRANWALA, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Four Muslim abductors in Saleem Colony, within the jurisdictions of Shisharwali Police Station Satellite Town, Gujranwala City in the Punjab Province of Pakistan, allegedly kidnapped a Christian girl identified as Mehek (aged 14 years and 8 months), on Wednesday, August 17, 2011.

AsiaNews reports that the girl was taken by the main Muslim man so he could “purify her” to make her “Muslim and my mistress.”

ANS was apprised of this crime by Rashid Masih, a Christian laborer and father of six, including Mehek, who all live in a rented house.

According to our ANS investigation, the names of Rashid Masih’s family are: Mrs. Nasreen Bibi, his spouse, Masih’s abducted daughter Mehek, also daughter Soha, and sons Saul Masih and Usman Masih.

The abductors were said by eye-witnesses to be a young Muslim man, and his four accomplices who claimed they were armed with deadly weapons. They allegedly forced their way into the house of Rashid Masih brandishing their weapons in the air. The attack took place in broad daylight, and the assailants were said to have pointed a gun at the head of Mehek, and then forced her to climb aboard a white car

ANS has learned that the alleged abductors were chased by the eye-witnesses, but the armed Muslim men threatened them telling them to desist otherwise they would kill them. They also were said to have used a derogatory word for female Christians.

On hearing the news, workers from the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), led by Khalid Gill, went to the local Police station, where, they said, police "reluctantly" registered the case against the perpetrators.

On the instructions of the Station House Officer, a sub-inspector was deputed to probe into the issue.

However, APMA sources said they were “concerned” that although the case was lodged, no efforts were apparently being made to "nail" the alleged Muslim culprits.

ANS was also told by locals that APMA head Dr. Paul Bhatti, has expressed his solidarity with the victim Christian family and pledged to extend all possible support and help towards them.

Interviewed by AsiaNews, the Archbishop Emeritus of Lahore and former president of the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference Mgr. Lawrence John Saldanha stresses that such cases are “common in Pakistan,” and families “can do little or nothing” to save the victims from their captors. He adds: “The Muslim family has an advantage, because the law favors them.”

Rashid Masih, along with his family, had moved from Bawarey Village to Gujranwala city for the education and bright future of his Children, unaware that he would have to face such a fateful situation.

Jawad Mazhar is a Pakistani journalist specializing in writing about Christian persecution. He was born on November 28, 1976 at Sargodha's village Chak and raised in Sargodha, a city in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He earned his Bachelors Degree from Allama Iqbal Open University majoring in computer sciences and has taught at various educational institutes in his country. He is also involved with “Rays of Development,” an organization working for minority rights in Pakistan. He says, “My aim is to help eradicate Christian persecution through my writing as I bring the plight of these brave people under the spotlight of the whole world.”

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