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By BosNewsLife Asia Service

Pakistani Christian women are among those being targeted by Muslims, activists say.

Pakistani Christian women are among those being targeted by Muslims, activists say.



LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)-- A Christian woman who was "tortured" by police and "falsely accused" of stealing ornaments from a wealthy Pakistani Muslim household has been reunited with her family, attorneys confirmed to BosNewsLife Sunday, March 3.

Arshad Bibi, a domestic worker of the Muslim family in Pakistan's second largest city of Lahore, allegedly removed jewelry worth the equivalent of some $5,560.

Bibi, 35, earned just over $30 dollars per month, said the Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD), an advocacy and aid group.

The complainant, Zahida Perveen, reportedly told police in Lahore's Muslim Town area that her "Christian female servant" managed to steal the jewelry, though "they were locked up."

Bibi was detained February 13 and only released on bail February 25, BosNewsLife learned.

"ABUSED AND TORTURED"

The Christian, who had been working for the Muslims over the last eight years, strongly denied wrongdoing. In published remarks, she said police had "abused and tortured" her so she would confess to having committed the alleged offense.

However, "I did not steal even a single penny from the house," she added. She did not provide more details about the alleged torture, and police did not immediately comment.

LEAD's Chief Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill told BosNewsLife that police sent her to prison despite questions surrounding the case.

"The allegation was fake" which prompted him to "file a bail application which was allowed by the judicial magistrate".

"THANKING GOD"

He said she has joined her family and "said thanks to God" and her attorneys. It was not immediately clear Sunday, March 3, when she would face a court.

The case has underscored concerns among rights activists about wider abuse of Christian domestic servants in the country and false accusations against minority Christians, a vulnerable group in this predominantly Islamic nation.

"Such [theft] allegations are being leveled against poor Christian house servants Christians," Gill told BosNewsLife. "We hope that we shall prove her innocence in court."

LEAD has been involved in Christian relief, development and free legal aid for several Christians as part of what it says are efforts to help especially Children families and communities "to overcome poverty and injustice."

However "As followers of Jesus, we are motivated by God's grace and love to serve all people regardless of race, religion gender or ethnicity," said Gill, whose group has asked for prayers and financial support.



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