By BosNewsLife Asia Service
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– Three impoverished Christian women were recovering Tuesday, June 18, after they were reportedly beaten and forced to parade naked in a Pakistani village due to their faith in Christ.
Their lawyer Mushtaq Gill told BosNewsLife that his clients Arshad Bibi, Sajida and Saruyia were mistreated by “armed Muslims who entered their home” earlier this month “while they were sleeping” in rural village Sereser Chak No.21, in Punjab province.
The 73-year-old Sadiq Masih and his wife Bibi Rani, with whom the women share the house, could not defend the victims against the attacks by nearly a dozen Muslim landowners and three unknown persons, Gill added.
Additionally, “Nobody had the courage to save the women from that torture,” the lawyer complained.
The troubles apparently began when goats of a Christian strayed away and entered fields of Muslim farmers, who responded by locking up the animals in a house.
SLAPPED IN FACE
“I went to them and requested to give back my goats but they refused. They also verbally abused me and slapped many times at my cheeks in front of many people,” said Shoukat Masih about the June 2 incident.
He managed to return home after the Muslims farmers allegedly warned him that as a Christian he “should not speak to them with a loud voice.”
Seeking revenge, Muslim landowners and their supporters allegedly entered the home of the three Christian women and abused them.
They beat the women, took off their clothes and forced them to walk naked through the village, Gill said, citing local Christians. He told BosNewsLife that he and the pastor of a nearby church helped the Christians to report the attack to local police, who seemed reluctant to investigate the case.
“In response to our complaint, the Muslim suspects were eve allowed to filed a criminal report with police against the Christian victims.”
Police also went to the Christian women in a separate raid, threatening them with a criminal case, according to villagers.
They aren’t the only Christian villagers reporting persecution. “Some others told me that they are often being threatened and treated badly and inhumane by Muslims landlords,” Gill claimed.
“There is no doubt that Christians are being victimized because of the hatred towards their Christian faith. Additionally many are poor and weak,” Gill noted, adding that he and other Christians also held a protest in the village against the violence.
Gill said his Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD) group has been asked to defend these and other minority Christians in this heavily Islamic nation.
“Many of our clients are very poor and unable to afford legal services. Due to this fact, many incidents go unreported, causing them to be under constant abuse from their oppressors.”
LEAD says it offers free legal aid and assistance to persecuted Christians if they are unable to pay for these services.
Local officials did not immediately comment on the tensions in Sereser Chak No.21. However police prepared a so-called First Information Report which, at least in theory, should lead to further investigations into the mistreatment and other anti-Christian incidents in the area.
Gill said he asked supporters to “pray for the LEAD team that God may give them wisdom to assist in this case against the accused, and also for the fiscal and financial needs of LEAD’s work.”
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
Help BosNewsLife to be the voice of the voiceless. Click here for a subscription.