Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Gang rape of Hindu and Christian girls: Open letter to Pakistan President Zardari
October 14, 2011
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
Dear Mr. President,
We, the following social activists and members of the web-based online forum The Moderates, have come to know about a dastardly incident that has taken place in your country through a news release of the Asian Human Rights Commission. Here is the link to the report:http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-199-2011
Attention: A 12 year-old Christian girl has been gang-raped, detained for eight months, forcibly converted and 'married' to her Muslim attacker
Name of victim: Miss Anna (not her real name) 12, daughter of Arif Masih, employed as street sweeper at WAPDA, resident of quarter number 44, WAPDA colony, Shahdra, Lahore, capital of Punjab province,
Place of incident: WAPDA Quarters resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
Date of incident: December 24, 2010
Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Muhammad Irfan, (rapist) resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
2. Muhammad Irshad, (rapist) resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
3. Mumtaz Bibi.resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
4. Farzana Bibi.resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
5. Kiran Bibi resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
6. Nida, resident of Shadra, factory area, Lahore, Punjab province
7. Station House Officer (SHO), factory area police station, Shadra, Lahore, Punjab province,
We are writing to voice our deep concern regarding the gang rape of this young Christian girl who was then forcibly converted to Islam and then 'married' to one of her attackers by the members of a banned religious organization. As the details of the incident have been well documented in the AHRC report, we would like to refrain from re-stating the horrific story.
The aforesaid report also mentions that as many as 20 to 25 girls from the Hindu community are abducted every month and converted forcibly, according to Amarnath Motumal, an advocate and council member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Many abducted girls are raped, others are never heard from again by their families; all cases involved a struggle to access their right to redress.
While the aforesaid incidents are extremely dastardly and inhuman, a general perception about the human rights situation of minorities in Pakistan can be easily gauged from the recent chain of unfortunate incidents including the assassination of Minorities minister Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab Governor Mr. Salmaan Taseer, for supporting minority rights.
It has also been reported that the judge who awarded death penalty to Taseer’s killer has gone into hiding fearing threats to his own life. It is easily imaginable that if ministers, Governors and judges advocating minority rights are not safe, how difficult it would be for an ordinary citizen to defend his/her human rights in your country.
Mr. President, we believe that defending and upholding minority rights is one of the foremost responsibilities of a healthy democracy. If your country fails to protect its minorities, it may not only affect the democratic credentials of your country but also promote and bolster anti-minority activities in other countries.
So keeping in mind the human, moral, democratic and civic responsibility of a country to protect human rights of its citizens in general, and those of minorities, in particular, we, on behalf of The Moderates , urge you to investigate the case of Miss Anna and prosecute all the perpetrators involved in the gang rape of a 12 year old girl for eight months. We also urge you to provide full protection to the child and her family and the best possible medical treatment and counseling.
Finally, we request you to ask the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan to provide you with the list of the minority community girls who have been abducted, and instruct your law enforcement agencies to trace them and return them to their families, and provide them with protection.