Saturday, September 24, 2011

ASIA: PAKISTAN: CHRISTIAN WOMEN CONTINUALLY IN DANGER

ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Jibran Khan
A 32 year old woman and mother of five children was abducted and raped in turn by three men. Threats to the husband to force him to withdraw his complaint. Police officers covering the crime, drawing up a report full of holes. Priest in Lahore: Christian violence against women is widespread and scandalous.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – The rape of Christian women in Punjab has become a "common practice" an "outrageous" phenomenon compounded by the fact that "the police protect the guilty" and not the victims. This is the bitter synopsis of Fr Jill John, of the Diocese of Lahore on the last recorded case of sexual violence against a Christian mother. The family calls for justice, but is struggling against a society in which the defenders of the law support the rapists. Even human rights groups like Masihi Life for All Foundation have intervened on the matter, asking government authorities to target the perpetrators of crimes and punish the corrupt and conniving police officers.

The incident dates back to Sept. 15, but the news filtered through only in recent days. Arifa Mushtaq (name changed for security reasons - ed) 32, mother of five was abducted and raped by three Muslims . Her husband Muashtaq Masih a worker at the Kasur sanitation department, in a devastated condition said, "Arifa use to work in a garment factory, on the y evening of 15 September she was coming home from work, she got off the bus, two local Muslims grabbed her from the back. Another armed accomplice came and put a gun on her head".

The woman began to scream, then asked the trio to leave her free to think their children who were waiting at home. Instead, the men took Arifa by force to a house and, one by one, they raped her. The family is in shock and even their attempt to report the rape has added insult to injury: the Muslims have threatened her husband, warning him to withdraw the lawsuit. Otherwise, his children will have to go through what his wife has gone through. The police has also protected the perpetrators, putting pressure on Muashtaq Masih.

Fr. Jill John confirms that "the police helps the guilty, with omissions and gaps in the compilation of complaints to favor their freedom." The family of the raped woman, added the priest, are now living in fear while criminals are free to roam the streets of the town. "How much longer - he asks – will we see the children of God suffer? And when will Mushtaq Masih's family get justice? ". He appealed to the police chief of Punjab and the Minister of Justice to target the corrupt police officers and protect the family.

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