Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pakistani Muslims Accused of Rape Allegedly Attack Her Sisters

This is a typical reaction by Muslims accused of any crime:  attack the witnesses to intimidate them into silence.  That and Pakistani police reluctance to file charges against fellow Muslims makes it almost impossible for Christian victims to get justice.


Pakistani Muslims Accused of Rape Allegedly Attack Her Sisters

Fearing conviction, five Muslim rape suspects allegedly beat Muniran Bibi and her sister to get their Christian family to drop rape charges

By Michael Ireland

Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Five Muslims allegedly ransacked the house of an impoverished Christian in the capital city of Punjab Province last month and angrily beat his daughters in an effort to get the family to withdraw rape charges.

Compass Direct News (CDN) reports Christian leaders said that Muhammad Sajjid wielding a pistol, Muhammad Sharif brandishing a dagger, and Muhammad Wajjad and two unidentified accomplices carrying bamboo clubs arrived at the Lahore home of Piyara Masih the afternoon of Feb. 26.

The Muslims allegedly ransacked the house and began thrashing his two daughters, a 15-year-old and her 21-year-old sister, Muniran Bibi, according to attorney Azra Shujaat, head of Global Evangelical Ministries, and Khalid Gill, president of the Christian Liberation Front (CLF).

Muniran said Sharif stabbed her four times with the dagger.

“They ripped apart my clothes, as well as my sister’s,” she said. “In the meantime, Muhammad Sajjid kept firing into the air to terrorize us.”

CDN says the family accuses the men of raping her then-13-year-old sister in 2008.

CDN goes on to report their frail father said that the gang leader, Sajjid, commanded his accomplices to abduct both Muniran and her sister in the most recent attack, without success.

A neighbor who requested anonymity said that a large number of people gathered in front of the house upon hearing the cries of the Christian family, causing the five Muslims to flee, CDN states.

CDN also says Christian leaders said the alleged attacks on the family were predicated in part on the assumption that, as Christians, they will get little help from a justice system biased against non-Muslims and easily swayed by threats, bribes or other means of persuasion from Muslims,

CDN stated when the family approached Nishtar Colony police for help, officers refused to register a case.

According to CDN, Attorney Shujaat said that in refusing to file assault charges, police "bowed to the power of wealthy area Muslims."

Shujaat, who is providing pro-bono counsel for the family, said he registered a First Information Report (FIR) at the Lahore High Court, accusing the men of ransacking the house and illegal weapons.

Only after the high court order for police to file an FIR and strenuous efforts by him, Christian politicians and clergymen did the Nishtar Colony police register one against the Muslim gang.

Police did not register the FIR until March 2, Shujaat said, on orders of Additional Sessions Judge Justice Mahr Muhammad Yousaf.

The Christian family said they were still receiving death threats.

Gill, who besides being president of CLF is head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), said the alleged rape took place on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007, when Sajjid, Sharif, Wajjad and an unknown accomplice attacked the family.

“The chastity of [name withheld], who was 13 years old then and youngest among her sisters, was ruined by all four Muslim gang members, and later they abducted her and kept her at an undisclosed locality,” Gill said.

Police later recovered her, and a medical examination proved that she had been repeatedly sexually abused, Gill added.

Shujaat said the four men were being prosecuted for rape and abduction of the girl in District and Sessions Court. Sources told CDN that the alleged rapists were granted bail and secured liberty soon after their apprehension.

Shujaat said evidence at their trial showed they were responsible for the rape, and that a conviction was imminent.

Ferhan Mazher, head of Christian rights group Rays of Development Organization, said the only way for the “perverse Muslim criminals” to do away with the court’s judgment was to convince the Christian family, through threats and violence, to drop the charges.

“Therefore the Muslim men invaded the house of the Christian family to exert intense pressure on them to quash the case,” Mazher said.