On 12th of July 2020, Anika Shehzad (16 yrs) resident of Wandala Diyal Shah in Sheikhupura, began work as a house maid, at the home of a Muslim landlord Naila Bibi (32 yrs) resident of B.Block, Multan Road, Lahore. The employment had been organised by a woman in the same village as Anika named Maqboola Bibi (56 yrs), who herself was a relative of Naila.
During the time of her employment no communication was permitted between Anika and her parents, despite her young and vulnerable age and this cause great anxiety to the parents of Anika.
On 12th of August 2020, Maqboola contacted the parents of Anika and asked them to come and meet their daughter. Excitedly the parents washed themselves and changed their clothes, and rushed to Maqboola’s home to lay eyes on their daughter who had been away for a month. However when they arrived at the home of Maqboola they were shocked at the state of Anika.
Kahlida has told us that she shouted at Maqboola at that point: “Such evil violence, this horrid cruelty for the theft of 5000 rupees?”
“When I insisted, she turned harsh towards me.
“I told Naila that I did not enjoy the work and that on completion of one month I would be quitting.
“At this point Naila became furious and started yelling at me shouting abusive names and expletives, about me, my parents and the Christian faith.”
Naila Bibi, in high dudgeon, leapt towards Anika in an attempt to hurt her more, but was pacified by others there. At the house of Maqboola Bibi, Khalida was threatened by Naila and her compatriots to not to take the matter any further. She was told in no uncertain terms that the cost of taking any action could result in the loss of everything she owns and her life. She was warned that as a Christian she had no rights and that no-one would listen to her, besides she was poor and Naila could afford the best solicitors. She was told the nation of Pakistan belongs to Muslims and not Kaffir.
Khalida managed to take Anika home using a rickshaw as she was not able to walk.
Without taking into account the age of Anika and the fact that she was always in the control of the wealthy Muslims she worked for. Police allowed the registration of an obviously false FIR. The fact that she would have known no-one in the proximity of the home to whom she could sell the gold and could not have easily hidden money from the landlords, which would have removed any such motivation, was ignored by a very ignorant and naïve police force.
“Attempts were made to coerce me to leave my faith.
“I was chained for days, and my anklets vividly carry their marks.