Sabha with her family and BPCA Officer Ambreen Amber
A 16 year old girl with a mental impairment that has left her with a stammer was gang-raped by four Muslim men while her widowed mother was out shopping in the local markets preparing to celebrate Christmas.
Rukhsana Kausar (42 yrs) and her family originally heralded from Sargodha but moved home 163km away to Gujrat 10 years ago, as her husband had gained better employment there. Sadly her husband died 4 years ago leaving 4 daughters and 3 sons behind to be brought up by Rukhsana on her own. To maintain her children Rukhsana took up employment as a sanitary worker for Aziz Bhatti Hospital were she was earning £110 per month.
On 23rd December Rukhsana went to the market with her three young sons but left her daughter Sabha alone at home to clean and prepare the home for Christmas.
While the rest of the family were out, four local Muslim men forced their way into the property and gang-raped the frightened child. Fortunately for Sabha her mother and brothers returned home while the sordid and brutal violence was taking place.
On finding the courtyard gate locked and hearing loud shrieks of pain and terror from Sabha the eldest son climbed over the gate and opened it for the others. As a unit the family all rushed into their home in a fit of panic concerned by for the safety of Sabha throwing caution to the wayside and placing themselves in danger. They were also joined by a local Muslim friend named Awais who has been helping them since the death of their father after making a vow to him.
On entering they found a local Muslim man named Arslan raping naked Sabha accompanied by Muhammad Innayat. Rukhsana started screaming and the men fled the home giving the despairing mother a chance to cover her daughter with some clothes. Rukhsana gripped her daughter tightly and consoled her while her brothers locked the house and informed the police about what had happened.
Two days later on Christmas day the family registered a First Incident Report (FIR) at Civil Lines Police Station, Gujrat. FIR No, 17/1101 states:
“It is respectfully stated that I Rukhsana Bibi went to the market to get some important things on 23-12-2017 by 4 pm. My daughter Sabha (16) was alone at home. When I returned home along with my sons at 5:30 pm we found the outer gate was closed from inside and we heard the screams of my daughter Sabha. My son jumped inside the house by climbing the wall and opened the outer gate.
“When we entered in the veranda we found Arslan s/o Muhammad Boota, was committing adultery with my daughter in the room and Shebaz s/o Muhammad Innayat was standing beside them. They both ran as they saw us and I immediately covered up my girl. Later we were advised through neighbours that Shohaib aka Shohaibi dropped the abductors in front of our house. Me and my sons are eye witnesses of this whole incident, Arslan committed rape with my daughter while Shebaz helped him and Shohaib supported all this crime.
“The abductors are our neighbours so their families are coming to our home frequently asking for reconciliation.”
However according to Rukhsana her daughter was tortured and raped by all four men which the mother has painfully heard directly from Sabha. Rukhsana
has told BPCA officer Mehwish Bhatti that she believes the inaccuracy is an intentional ploy to fudge the investigation, she said:
“I and my children are all illiterate. None of us went to school because we could not afford it.
“I believe police have taken advantage of our inability to read and have written what they wanted in an attempt to discredit our family and allow the perpetrators of the crime to escape justice.
“My daughter has suffered a violent an brutal attack and has lost her innocence to disgusting lecherous men who knew she was vulnerable. My daughter has lost all her confidence and is deeply traumatised and now I have to help Sahba rebuild her life.
investing the crime initially arrested all four culprits but later released two of the men after allegedly receiving a bribe. Later a third rapist was also set free to the chagrin of Rukhsana and her family leaving only Arslan detained.
All three men released by the police have visited Rukhsana at her workplace and she has gone into hiding at a relatives house.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“Four ruthless predators targeted this Christian family home on an annual holiday particular to the victim’s religion, intent on defilng an innocent young woman with mental challenges and defining the celebration by the brutal trauma they rendered . They knew her to be a vulnerable Christian and considered her life worthless. But Sahba’s life is not worthless to either her family nor to other Christians, even if her Muslim neighbours and law enforcement deem it so.
Christians should not be approached to participate in practices of Shariah law as it is a violation of their right as free citizens to practice their own faith. Moreover Christians should be free to process the crime perpetrated against them with the full protection supposedly afforded them under the constitution of Pakistan
A grave evil continued when the family of the rapists were allowed to continue to harrass Sabha and her family by demanding so-called “reconcilation,” demonstrating a stark lack of compassion towards other human beings.
Pestering the family with the offer of a bribe also underscores that rather than viewing Christian women as victims of a sex crime, they are seen as a sexual commodity that can be bought off when damaged as if they were somehow the property of the rapist. These men and their families act as if they were entitled to violate this innocent Christian girl by some divine right.
When victim’s families refuse and demand their civil rights to be fairly protected under the law they are often seen as unreasonable and blamed for disharmony in the community. Victim families find themselves harassed as in the case of Sabha’s unfortunate family.
The fact that police are mandated to protect all members of the public means it is unacceptable for them to take money for sexual and violent crimes against religious minorities. Any officer found doing so is complicit with the trafficker and should never be considered an officer of the law! They should immediately be removed from post.
The police mishandling of this case puts in mind the way the police mishandled the evidence in Sharoon Masih’s case by fudging essential facts. This resulted in the murderers of Sharoon escaping justice
“Police authorities investigating Sabha’s rape have intentionally fudged the initial reports and minimalized the crime, by neglecting to lay charges on all four men and ignoring the eye witness testimony of the victim and her family. This is a clear example of the apathy Police officers exhibit when investigating crimes against Christians.
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