ASIA/PAKISTAN –Sialkot (Agenzia Fides) – It is one of those brutal acts, the emblem of the abuses suffered by Christians in Pakistan: on Easter Day, Saira, a 7-year-old Christian girl was raped by a Muslim man, Mohammad Alam Fakhar, in a village in the district of Sialkot, Punjab. The girl, who after the violence suffered a hemorrhage, was hospitalized just three days after the abuse and is still in critical condition in the hospital in Sialkot, while some Muslims have asked Saira’s family not to press charges against the perpetrator. Despite the fears and obstacles, a complaint was filed on April 22 against the rapist and two other people. The police ordered a medical examination which confirmed the rape.
As reported to Fides, the lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill, head of the NGO “LEAD” represents the family and will follow the case. Strongly condemning sexual violence, Gill told Fides: “Such cases are frequent: abuse against women and girls by Muslim men are examples of how the minorities in Pakistan live under constant fear of persecution. We believe that many cases of violence go unreported”.
Among the most striking cases, raised recently by several human rights organizations, there is that of a 15-year-old Christian, Fouzia Bibi, raped in January 2013 in the district of Kasur by two Muslims; and that of another Christian student, who was raped in July 2013 by a Muslim boy under the supervision of two armed men. In addition, in December 2012, a 6-year-old Hindu girl Wijenti Meghwar, was raped while she was playing in the street in the town of Ghulam Nabi Shah, in Sindh province: the case is still open.
According to a recent report sent to Fides Agency, every year about a thousand girls of Christian and Hindu religious minorities are kidnapped, raped and forced to Islamic marriage. The report was prepared by the “Solidarity and Peace Movement”, a coalition of NGOs, associations and institutions including the “Justice and Peace” Commission of the Pakistani Bishops. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 28/04/2014)