In the quiet town of Kala Gujran, Jhelum, a horrific incident unfolded on September 23, 2023, that shook the community to its core.
Persis Masih, a 16-year-old Christian girl, was abducted by a gang of three Muslim men while on her way to attend Sunday service at ALG Church. What followed was a harrowing tale of violence, sexual assault, and the resilience of a family seeking justice.
The day began like any other for the Masih family. Persis’ father, Evangelist Safeer Masih, had left for the church early, with the rest of the family joining him later, leaving Persis at home to get ready. Little did they know that their lives would be forever changed.
The family’s concern grew when they returned home to find Persis missing. Safeer Masih, in a state of worry, searched tirelessly for his daughter and eventually reported her disappearance to the local police. An FIR was registered, and the family spent a sleepless night contacting relatives in the hope of finding Persis.
The turning point came on the afternoon of September 24th when the family heard Persis moaning for help outside their gate. The culprits, realizing the severity of her condition, had callously dropped her off. Supported by her elder brother Yessi Masih, Persis was brought inside the house, her physical and emotional state in shambles.
Swift action was taken as Safeer Masih rushed Persis to Tehsil Head Quarters Hospital, Jhelum. The medical examination revealed the horrifying truth—Persis had been gang-raped. Despite the trauma, she bravely identified one of the perpetrators, Muhammad Atif, thanks to the assistance of the local police and CCTV footage.
The police, acting promptly, arrested Atif on September 27th, just as he was attempting to flee the city. The role of the police in this arrest was commended by Aliyas Wattu, a local reporter for Dawn Newspaper, who highlighted their timely intervention to BACA and sought our help for the family.
Mr. Wattu said:
“The role of the police is commendable in arresting the culprit who could have fled from Jhelum had the police not intervened in time.”
“Persis was also beaten, and she bears visible marks of violence on her body.”
Persis’ suffering did not end with the assault; she bore visible marks of violence. The family, already grappling with the emotional toll, faces an arduous journey towards justice. Safeer Masih, a humble man earning his living through daily wage wall painting, now seeks justice for his daughter with the support of British Asian Christian Association. (BACA).
BACA has stepped forward, offering legal support to the Masih family. This support is crucial in ensuring that the perpetrators face the consequences of their heinous actions, especially Pakistan is a country where rape and murder cases are not state cases but civil. Our officer, Edward Masih, has met with the family and local police at the station. The services of a solicitor for cases like these typically amount to £2000. If Persis’s plight has touched your heart and you wish to contribute, you can make a donation (here).
The incident has sparked outrage within the community, transcending religious boundaries. It serves as a stark reminder of the need for solidarity in condemning such acts and demanding justice. As we collectively stand against violence and injustice, let this be a rallying cry for change and a call to protect the vulnerable in our society.