ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– A Christian girl was kidnapped, beaten, stripped and left naked in Pakistan by Muslims who were outraged that her uncle plans to marry a Muslim, Christians involved in the case told BosNewsLife.
The attack against 7-year-old Perwasha in the country’s Punjab province came amid a wider crackdown in mixed marriages and other relationships in this Islamic country.
Perwasha Masih was recovering on New Year’s Day after a Muslim family forcibly stopped her on her way home from school in the village of Dillon Kalan in the provincial district of Kasur, Christians said.
They allegedly took her to their house where they reportedly beat her and stripped her naked, leaving the girl’s school uniform in the garbage to burn.
“Its absolutely horrific,” said Sardar Mushtaq Gill, national director of advocacy group Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD), who supports the girl and her family.
He told BosNewsLife that Muslims were angry that the girl’s maternal uncle, Iftikhar Masih, “was dating a Muslim girl” and “decided to take revenge by dishonoring his niece.”
It was not immediately clear when the marriage between Masih and the Muslim, identified as Samina, would take place. Samina’s family reportedly complained she “had been dishonored by Iftikhar” as he is a Christian man.
Im remarks obtained by BosNewsLife, Perwasha’s mother Yasmeen Masih, said village authorities and local police refused to help her.
Instead, “We were informed that the Muslim family had already filed a complaint against [our] Christian family for “shaming” Iftikhar’s Muslim girlfriend, Samina.”
Police detained two male members of the Christian family who were later released on bail after the Christian family pledged to leave the village, BosNewsLife learned.
Allah Rakhi, a grand mother of Perwasha, said in remarks published by LEAD that they were forced to leave the village as everyone boycotted them because of their Christian faith.
It seems, she said, leaving the village is the only way to “save the lives and honor of our daughters.”
Gill told BosNewsLife that the incident is part of a trend in Pakistan. “If a Christian man develops a relation with a Muslim, his life and his family’s life are in danger…and they no more right to live in the locality because of the Muslim majority.”
He said LEAD provides free legal assistance and advocacy to these and other “victims of religious discrimination and violence who can not afford to bear heavy legal cost of counsels”, adding that his group seeks moral and financial support from Christians.