A 16 year old Christian girl was forcibly abducted from her own home by an armed gang of Muslim men who entered their house by kicking in her door during daylight hours before numerous witnesses.
The men then seriously injured the 75 year old grandmother of the young girl, after she tried to intervene to save her granddaughter.
At around 11.30 am, Monday, 9th August, Muqadas Nadeem Masih (16 yrs) from Shorkot, Jhang, was abducted from her home in front of her family and other villagers by Muhammad Azeem Malik and two burly cohorts, all armed with pistols.
At the time Muqadass and her younger sister were working on household chores with their grandmother Sardara Bibi (75 yrs). Her parents Nadeem Masih (40 yrs) and Akhtar Parveen (40 yrs) were out of the home working. Parveen is a domestic cleaner for a local wealthy Muslim family and Nadeem works as a local government street cleaner on daily wages.
Video of parents of Muqadas pleading for Pak-Government to help retrieve their daughter from clutches of rapist.
Suddenly and abruptly Mr Malik with two other men all armed with 32 calibre pistols, entered the house of the Christian family after kicking open their doors. Muhammad Azeem clutched Muqadas by her right arm and started dragging her out of the home. Her grandmother and younger sister Mehwish (14 yrs) rushed towards Muqadas to save her from the clutches of Mr Malik who shoved Sardara Bibi with great force, making her hit her head on the main door and she crumpled to the floor in pain from a bleeding gash on her head. Seeing her grandmother on the floor covered in blood and her sister being wrenched away by the three men Mehwish began to scream hysterically causing neighbours to come out of their homes to see what was causing such commotion in what is normally a peaceful neighbourhood of few homes.
Sardara Bibi spoke with British Asian Christian Association, she said:
“Malik Azeem came with two henchmen, they kicked the door open and entered our home.
“They grabbed Muqadas with great force and roughly began dragging her out while she kicked and screamed.
“I rushed to rescue her with my other grand-daughter we had no strength against the brutal men.
“Azeem pushed me with great force and my head hit a door I was dazed, bleeding and in so much pain.
“The men began beating my other grand daughters who were trying to help.
“Muqadas was screaming for help but the men just carried her away we could do nothing to stop them.”
Because of the timing of the abduction most of locals in the few homes in the area (around 5 homes) were women, as the men had started work. Tthe women shouted for the release of Muqadas but were too afraid to attempt to free her. Two local Christian men, Ismail Masih and Gulzar Masih however, were called and they rushed to rescue Muqadas but before they could reach close enough to attempt a rescue Mr Malik had pushed Muqadas forcefully into his van and had sped away in his vehicle.
Mehwish called her parents and informed them about the kidnapping of her Muqadas and Nadeem Masih immediately stopped his work and rushed home. After hearing what had happened from his family and many eye witnesses he went to the house of Mr Malik with his wife and brother to attempt to recover his daughter but despite vigorous knocking Mr Malik and his family did not open the door. Mr Masih then waited for an hour outside the home loudly pleading for the return of his daughter but was moved on by other neighbours of Mr Malik offended by his noise.
Mr Masih his wife and brother then travelled to Peer Mehal Police Station and sought police action to recover his daughter. Instead of helping him police told him to calm down and assured Mr Masih that they were sure his daughter would be returned to him in a few days. No attempt was made by police to register a crime of abduction and absolutely no investigation was initiated.
Nadeem Masih, spoke with British Asian Christian Association, he said:
“I cried out with all my soul beseeching with local police officers to help get my daughter back.
“They simply tried to calm me down and told me to wait three days as they were sure that my daughter would be returned within a few days.
“They seemed to think this was a simple elope by my daughter and did not believe a Muslim would kidnap her, despite the numerous witnesses that saw what happened.
“Mr Malik is rich and has powerful connections, I fear he has bribed local police and that they are protecting him by not taking any action against him”
With what little savings he had and a lot of borrowing Mr Masih sought the help of a solicitor, to get the courts to force Police to take action. An application was filed under section 22a of the Criminal Procedure Code. Under the Criminal Procedure (Third Amendment) Ordinance a Justice of the Peace can now order police to undertake a police investigation into a crime when they refuse to assist a citizen. Read more (here)
The family and friends of Muqadas were by this time reaching a peak in their anxiety and frustration and had been spending hours on their knees praying for the swift return of the young vulnerable Christian girl.
On the morning of 12th August, things got even more frenetic when Mr Masih found a marriage certificate for Muqadas Masih and Azeem Malik in the yard of his house. The family of Nadeem went through a debilitating shock as it struck home that their Godfearing child had been forcibly converted and married to her abductor. The marriage and conversion were both instituted at Jamia Rizvia Mazhar Islam Madrassa (an Islamic seminary) by Imam Muhammad Usman Ghani on 9th August, the same day that Muqadas was kidnapped before a village of witnesses.
Small steps towards justice. BACA officer helps Mr Masis Complete an application for registration of a First Incident Report (crime report).
On 13th August BACA team visited Nadeem Masih and his family, our team immediately escorted them to Peer Mehal Police Station and demanded an FIR be registered. On finding the family were supported by an NGO the police immediately accepted an application No.PM-8/13/2021-3936 which the father completed with the help of our team.
The next day BACA called the investigation officer Muhammad Nazim Ali who informed us that police had raided the house of Muhammad Azeem Malik twice but had thus far failed to recover the girl or the culprit.
Some success as we successfully encourage police to register an FIR.
Our team continued to support the family and took them to several meetings with local police and with our help on16th August FIR No.779/21 was registered against the culprits on the charges of abduction. The Station House officer had initially suggested he would continue with the Police raids and would bring Muqadas, Mr Malik and Mr Masih and his family in the police station so they could ask Muqadas where she wanted to be. However BACA insisted that an FIR for the crime of abduction be registered in tandem with the raids, due to the large body of witnesses still traumatised by the abduction. Thus our efforts actually were more expedient than the attempts by the extremely slow-working solicitor hired by the family who still had not even gained a court hearing date for his application.
Mr Malik lives in the same village as Mr Masih and has gained a lot of notoriety for violence and crimes in the area. Few people raise a voice against him due to his powerful connections with local politicians and landlords of the area. Muhammad Azeem Malik is already married and has three children, two boys and one daughter from his marriage.
Mr Mailk is now on a wanted list and police are searching for him and Muqadas but are yet to find any success and the family fear what treatment Muqadas is being subjected to. In similar situations Muslim men after marrying women forcibly share abducted Christian women with their friends and do not treat them like seven wives especially as their families never accept these women. The longer Muqadas remains in his clutches the more likely she will be under his will and influence and may become trapped in a horrid long term life of sexual slavery. If this happens Muqadas could eventually end up in a brothel, dead or may return to her home many years later emotionally scarred for life.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for the British Asian Christian Association, said:
“Despite dozens of witnesses another deluded Pakistani Police station fails to register an abduction and rape case, believing it to be an elopement or having been heavily bribed.
“A local solicitor began proceedings to demand that Police undertake their duty and begin an investigation which could have taken months to get passed through the courts.
“With such bias and corruption in local police constabularies, families of girls kidnapped in this fashion face an arduous task trying to retrieve their daughters before they have been subjected to the levels of violence and coercion that makes escape from their abductors impossible.
“Muqadas whereabouts is still unknown and the police’s first response will be to bring the family the abductor and the frightened girl together for her to inform of where she wishes to reside.
“Only a nation like Pakistan can ignore obvious evidence, and the rights of a woman in this fashion and we just call for prayer for her quick emancipation.”
Every effort to see a return of Muqadas quickly is being made by British Asian Christian Association and we will be providing a solicitor to the Masih family to fight for the return of Muqadas. Moroever, we have already begun providing financial support to the family and bible based counselling. The family will need a lot of help and it will not be possible for us to support this family without your support. If you are moved by the account of Muqadas and would like to support our effort financially, you can donate using the many options found (here)
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With the father unable to work due to chasing around trying to retrieve his daughter BACA provided some groceries. We have now committed to supporting the family with a regular financial amount while they fight to see their daughter again.