Two Christian women were subjected to a brutal axe attack after one woman resisted a rape attempt.
The rape attempt was made while one woman was relieving herself in a local field because she has no toilet at her home.
When she resisted the assailant attacked the woman with an axe and repeated the violence on her friend who came to her rescue.
The man fled the scene and is yet to be arrested by police despite being known.
Two Christian women narrowly escaped a harrowing ordeal when they were subjected to an attempted rape in a remote sugar cane field. The assailant, identified as Muhammad Abdul Rauf, launched a vicious attack on Rukhsana Bibi (38 years old) and her sister-in-law Asifa Bibi (30 years old) on January 27th around 2:30 pm. The sisters had ventured into the field for a moment of privacy when Rauf, the owner of the field, seized the opportunity to assault them.
As Rukhsana Bibi was attending to her needs, Rauf stealthily entered the field and attempted to rape her. Despite her resistance and cries for help, Rauf assaulted her with a sharp axe, inflicting severe wounds. Rukhsana bravely blocked his attacks, sustaining deep cuts to her hand and head. Asifa, alerted by the commotion, rushed to the scene, only to be met with Rauf’s violent aggression. He struck her forcefully with the axe, causing injuries to her arm and shoulder.
Rukhsana Bibi recounted the harrowing incident to BACA, detailing the traumatic sequence of events:
“Muhammad Abdul Rauf suddenly emerged and launched an attack on me.”
“I instinctively pushed him away and raised my voice, desperately seeking assistance. However, he swiftly covered my mouth to stifle my cries and viciously struck me with his sharp axe, targeting my head.”
“As I defended myself, his axe deeply cut into my left hand.”
“Subsequently, he struck me again with the blunt side of the axe, causing a severe injury under my right eye, followed by another blow to my head.”
“I was left bleeding profusely when Asifa arrived at the scene, adding her desperate pleas for help.” “Tragically, she too became a target of Muhammad Abdul Rauf’s violent assault.”
Asifa Bibi provided additional insight into the distressing ordeal:
“I rushed towards the source of the commotion and discovered my sister-in-law lying on the ground, with Muhammad Abdul Rauf viciously assaulting her with his axe.”
“Upon noticing my presence, Rauf turned his aggression towards me, striking me forcefully with the butt of his axe, causing significant injuries to my right arm and shoulder.”
Leaving the women bleeding and traumatized, Rauf fled the scene. Rukhsana and Asifa managed to escape the field and sought help from a passerby on a motorbike, who promptly alerted the police. Officers from the Silanwali Police Station arrived promptly and transported the victims to the District Headquarters Hospital Silanwali for urgent medical attention. Rukhsana required nine stitches to close her wound.
Despite the gravity of the situation, the response from the authorities was marred by bias. The police initially hesitated to register an FIR (First Information Report), citing the need for a medico-legal certificate. It was only after significant delay and pressure that the FIR was finally filed on January 31st. However, Rauf remains at large, leveraging his influence to evade justice.
The BACA team visited the family on February 1st to show solidarity during their challenging period. We prayed with the family and pledged to provide all possible assistance in seeking justice for Asifa and Rukhsana Bibi.
In the aftermath, the victims’ families faced intimidation and coercion from Rauf’s associates, pressuring them to accept a compromise. The Muslim community, largely siding with the perpetrator, has further exacerbated the family’s distress. In this challenging time, the family has found support from our officers who have stood in solidarity with them and will help them to pursue justice.
In the village, there are only 10 Christian families, all of whom are employed as labourers on farms owned by Muslim landlords in the area. None of these families have access to washrooms, forcing them to relieve themselves in the fields, thus leaving them vulnerable to such horrific incidents. Women in this community have expressed significant fear of similar attacks.
The incident highlights the vulnerability of marginalized communities, such as the Christian families in the village, who lack basic amenities like proper sanitation facilities. Azra Bibi, Rukhsana’s mother-in-law, has appealed for assistance in constructing a washroom to ensure the safety and dignity of her family. Additionally, the family has sought help to cover the cost of a solicitor, as rape cases are tried in civil courts in Pakistan. However, government intervention typically only occurs in response to national outcry, which rarely happens in cases where Christians are the victims. To support the family, we aim to raise at least £1000 to build a clean water pump and toilet facility near their home. This facility will be shared with all other Christians in the community, thereby improving the health, well-being and safety of many people. The estimated cost for a solicitor is around £1500, and donations can be made to our appeal for this family (here).
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for the British Asian Christian Association, has expressed profound concern over the harrowing ordeal endured by these women at the hands of a depraved individual, who is now shielded by others of his faith, demonstrating a disturbing lack of concern for the evil he has perpetrated. Mrs Chowdhry also railed against the Qisas and Diyat laws of Pakistan that allow Muslim rapists and murderers to pay a compromise payment to escape justice (click here).
Chowdhry highlights the root cause of such atrocities, pointing to an ‘increasingly hardline form of Islam being taught in Pakistan, which has marginalized Christians and other minorities, relegating them to a pariah status’. She emphasizes that this cannot be tolerated any longer.
She underscores the ‘urgent need for collective action and advocacy to hold perpetrators accountable, dismantle systemic biases, and empower marginalized communities. Only through such efforts can we hope to prevent such atrocities from recurring and ensure justice and dignity for all’.