Sahiwal (Agenzia Fides) – After an investigation conducted with raids in several villages in the area of Sahiwal (a city in the Pakistani province of Punjab), the Pakistani police arrested a Muslim man for kidnapping and raping an 8-year-old Christian girl Liza Younas. As Fides learned, according to police officials, the culprit is Muhammad Bota, arrested and accused under article 376 of the Criminal Code, who punishes rape and private violence. The penalty provided for by the law is imprisonment for a period between 10 and 25 years or even the death penalty. Ashiknaz Khokhar, a human rights promoter who supported and accompanied the victim’s family in the legal process, condemning the brutal attack, tells Fides: “This is the cruelty of a Muslim man, who kidnapped a minor in the street on the evening of September 2, raped her and in order to hide his crime, he tried to kill the girl by hitting her with a stone and leaving her unconscious on the ground. He then fled”.
Khokhar reconstructs the story: “On September 2, the little girl was sent by her parents to run an errand in a shop and did not return home, therefore after half an hour, her parents together with her neighbors began looking for her. The girl was found injured and confused on a nearby street. The girl was taken to Sahiwal Hospital for medical examinations. The medical report informs that she was raped and other parts of her body are also seriously injured. However, the girl was able to recognize her attacker and reported that Mohammad Bota lured her, and took her to a building where he raped her, attacked her with a stone and then fled”. Khokhar notes: “Cases of sexual abuse are particularly excruciating and even more so when an abominable act of sexual violence is committed against a child.
The minor is traumatized and psychologically devastated. She is being treated by a psychologist and other doctors in order to be treated for this trauma and wounds”.
Khokhar adds: “Liza’s healing process could take years. We thank the police officers, Christian minister Ejaz Alam Augustine and the medical staff for their full cooperation in prosecuting the culprit and solving the case”.
The non-governmental organization “Sahil”, which works in Pakistan to protect children from all kinds of violence, reports in its 2020 Report that more than 8 children are abused every day in Pakistan. Cases of officially reported criminal acts against children increased from 2,846 in the year 2019 to 2,960 in the year 2020. The report also mentions that 80% of the abuses are committed by someone the child knows. The violence perpetrated against girls of the Christian or Hindu religion, committed by people of the Muslim religion who despise, discriminate and abuse girls belonging to communities of religious minorities, fits into this framework, with the idea that these crimes of violence , kidnapping and rape can easily go unpunished. For this reason, lawyers and civil society organizations report, denounce and prosecute such cases, in order not to allow a culture of impunity.
SOURCE: (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 21/9/2021)