Rape of women and young girls is unfortunately increasingly very common in Pakistan, and often Christian women are an especial target. Most go unreported to the police. We have reported on just a few of these cases, and a few months ago five year old Sumbal was snatched and raped off a city street. It is not clear whether the girl was a Christian, although Christian activists have been among those protesting over the case. A year before we reported on a 9 year old Christian girl gang raped by three Muslim boys. Sometimes boys are sodomized too, including several years ago a rogue police unit or officer who raped and murdered teenage boys. Recently a thirteen year old Muslim girl was raped and buried alive, but managed to escape (and typically – the police did not side with the victims family. A few months ago, a four year old Muslim girl was raped by a Muslim cleric on her first day at religious school. One case that has been widely reported, partly because of a moving video as part of a documentary was the brutal rape a number of years ago of two year old Neha because her father refused to convert to Islam. Eventually the family fled to Canada.
Now, yet another case has come to light where a Muslim man who regularly tried to induce or force sex on Christian women at his workplace (the home of a senior railway official) and went on to rape or attempt to rape two sisters, aged 1 and 3. The victims family claim that he was able to get away with it by implicit blackmail because he knew that his employer brought women back to the house when his wife was absent. In late October, Sumbal, one of the Christian maids, was asked by the perpetrator Allah Baksh to clean the communal courtyard. She refused, as she had to look after her two young daughters and said she would do it when her husband returned. Allah Baksh forced her to do it, or else he would complain to their boss. After cleaning the yard, she returned to find her 1 year old daughter gagged and tied to the bed, with Allah Baksh with his trousers down and trying to rape the three year old girl. When the mother, Sumbal, started shouting, he slapped her and said he would kill her and the girls if she told anyone of the attack. He eventually fled, and the hospital examinations revealed attempted rape on both the girls, and nail and bite marks on their face and neck. Although the rapist has been arrested, we do not know if justice will be done (perpetrators often get away with it and are released despite overwhelming evidence). In this case, the police are pressuring the parents of the girls for ‘compromise’ – a common tactic. Meanwhile, the employer has sided with the rapist and fired the victims family and made them homeless.