Last night we heard of a despicable act of debauchery that has left Christians in Pakistan utterly shocked . It has been alleged that Shazia Masih an 11 year old Christian Girl from Lahore, Pakistan – was killed by a prominent Muslim after a period of sexual slavery.
Wealthy lawyer Mohammed Naeem and his son have been accused of the rape and torture of the innocent girl who was working as a cleaner in his home. The young girl had not even reached physical maturity and in her underdeveloped stage must have been terrified by the ordeal which spanned a series of months.
Retired General Samson Sharaf has informed me of some progress this morning:
“The Federal Minister for Minorities – Shahbaz Bhatti is with the family. Our President, Prime Minister and Chief Minister have issued orders for the apprehensions of the culprits.
“Human Rights organizations have already coalesced.
“Things are moving.”
The lecherous and pernicious aggression that has been meted out on Shazia has left the Christian community of Pakistan in turmoil. Many have gone out on the streets and starting protesting for justice.
People from minority faith groups predominantly live in impoverished areas and are subjected to perpetual abuse and threats from local Muslim communities. Moreover, a lack of education or employment opportunity has left these beleaguered communities languishing in debt and destitution.
The British Pakistani Christian Association has only recently organized multi-faith delegations to Green MEP Jean Lambert (South Asian delegate for the EU) and to the High Commissioner of Pakistan, campaigning for Justice, Peace, equal rights and parity of opportunity in Pakistan.
Both the High Commissioner and the BPCA delegation believe that a root cause of the situation in Pakistan is the lack of education and significantly biased legislation, coupled with corrupt statutory organizations. Yet no solid groundwork is being undertaken to improve socio-economic conditions for minorities. Moreover, there is no plan of action devised to tackle these significant problems.
Police authorities were reticent to enact the FIR for the incident despite the fact that such process is a mandatory privilege to all citizens. Police corruption and statutory authority corruption allows first and second class citizenship to continue. Wealthy individuals find themselves immune to punishment as they can afford a “get out of Jail free card” Somehow we must tackle this awful malaise and the BPCA believes that a better tax scheme in which all of Pakistani Society is included and revenue is collected efficiently, will gift the government of Pakistan with the capital to pay better wages to their Police and statutory agency employees – reducing the need for them to survive through bribes.
Many people have commented that this despicable act is not an act of religious intolerance but the sordid and contemptuous acts of an evil man. This may be true but it was a Christian sister that was targeted. Only recently we heard of 15,000 toilet cleaners that have lost their employment in a government employee cull. Over 12,000 were Christians and my point would be why is it always our community that has the worse jobs? It is this fact that subjects us to the cultural revilement and abuse from some of the Muslim population.
The fact that this child was working at 12 years of age and is not attending a school, is a failure of Pakistani society and it’s government. Free education should be provided to the poorest of families in Pakistan or the impoverished will simply bypass the education system. Child protection laws with respect to education and work should be introduced. Child labour times should be restricted to those outside of school hours (for those aged 14 and above) and only with appropriate health, safety and security risk assessment. Moreover, families should be encouraged to send their children to school by laws imposing attendance and removal of Islamic Studies from the mandatory curriculum, in favour of a more general religious education that would foster better relationship between students of diverse faiths. Besides, this would also remove the current common perception that Islamic studies will be used as a tool for proselytizing, that deters parents of children from minority groups from sending them to school.
Shazia joins a growing list of Christian Martyrs, she was faultless in her actions, served her deceitful employers well and with due respect.
Shazia has been subjected to the worst possible atrocity a girl of her age could suffer. Her family must be in the deepest of shock and outrage at what has happened. Our Christian community and other minority communities have galvanized themselves against the immoral acts of this sexual predator. They continue to lobby parliament and protest.
We call for prayer for justice as an outcome of any investigation and succour for the family and friends of Shazia. We also pray for protection, well being and continued strength for the family of Shazia.
Her body lying peacefully in death – subjected to torture in her last moments.
Just a child – her body had not even developed full adult characteristics!
At 14 this child living a life of poverty, needed to work to support a family.
Wounds cover her face, head and neck!
Tortured and beaten before being raped – I pray for justice for the child and her family.
The accused Lawyer smirks in a photograph.