How Pakistani Court Ordered the Release of an Abducted Teenage Girl
In what is considered to be a rare legal victory a local court in Sargodha, Pakistan, recently ordered the police officials to ensure they secure the release of a Christian teenage girl who had been abducted by her former employer.
The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC), reported that the Police have subsequently carried out the order last December and that it has successfully returned the girl-Nousheen Bibi to her parents after three months of hostage to her former employer, a Muslim woman-Mehnaz Begum from Shahzad Park town in Sargodha, Pakistan.
ICC noted that Nousheen's mother had earlier submitted a case in court against Mehnaz Begum, for keeping her daughter as a maidservant in her home two months beyond their agreement adding that the two women had initially agreed to have Nousheen work for one month as a maid at Mehnaz's house in exchange for a set payment.
It said that the agreement turned sour when Mehnaz refused to either pay Nousheen for her services or allow her to return home when the month was over stating that it was surprisingly that, Asmat did not encounter any opposition at court.
“Mehnaz thought she could get away with enslaving the Christian girl because Christians in Pakistan are considered to be very weak both financially and socially.”
According to ICC the local judge however ordered police to visit Mehnaz and recover Nousheen at Asmat's request and that Nousheen was in good health despite the intense mental stress she experienced, and had no evident marks of any physical violence.
In his reaction to the court order the ICC's Regional Manager for South Asia, Samuel Wallace, said, "Asmat Bibi reminds him of the parable Jesus told of the persistent widow and the unjust judge, and that in a country where Christians are usually unable to defend themselves against egregious crimes, Asmat had the courage to petition the court for her daughter. “May we have the same boldness and trust in God for those we love."
Pakistan is noted for its persecution on Christians, take for instance, it was reported last year that four female Christian nurses and two Christian teaching staff were suspended from the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences nursing school in Rawalpindi, after they were suspected of crossing out a Koranic verse posted on a notice board.
Subsequent to that all six Christians denied any involvement in the desecrating of Koranic verse on the notice board and despite their denial, still a mob of Muslim students, armed with batons, violently demonstrated in the nursing school.
Statistics have it that Christians in Pakistan are just 1.5% of the population and that Pakistani law mandates that "blasphemies" of the Qur'an are to be met with punishment.
It was learnt that one Ayub Masih, a Christian, was convicted under the same blasphemy law and sentenced to death in 1998. He was simply accused by a neighbor of stating that he supported the British writer, Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses. The Lower appeals courts upheld the conviction, but however, before the Pakistan Supreme Court, his lawyer was able to prove that the accuser had used the conviction to force Masih's family off their land and then acquired control of the property, Masih was subsequently released.
The Christian community in Pakistan has been the target of attacks by Islamic extremists and in one of the attacks two terrorists entered the Peace and Justice Institute in Karachi, where they separated Muslims from the Christians, and then murdered eight Christians by shooting them in the head. All of the victims were Pakistani Christians and Karachi Police Chief Tariq Jamil said the victims had their hands tied and their mouths had been covered with tape.
Further to that in 2005, 3,000 militant Islamists attacked Christians in Sangla Hill in Pakistan and destroyed Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and United Presbyterian churches and reports had it that the attack was simply over the allegations of violation of blasphemy laws by a Pakistani Christian named Yousaf Masih. The attacks were widely condemned by some political parties in Pakistan.
Also in 2006 a Pakistani Christian stonemason named Nasir Ashraf was working near Lahore when he drank water from a public facility using a glass chained to the facility. He was assaulted by Muslims for "Polluting the glass" and subsequent to that a mob developed, and beat Ashraf, calling him a "Christian dog". Bystanders encouraged the beating and joined in beating, which later led to Ashraf eventual hospitalization.
One year later, in August 2007, reports have it that a Christian missionary couple, Rev. Arif and Kathleen Khan, were gunned down by militant Islamists in Islamabad. The "official" position in Pakistan is that the killer was a fellow Christian, and that the killings were "justified" as an honor killing under the false pretext that the missionaries were engaged in sexual harassment, an assertion widely doubted in the international media, as well as by Pakistani Christians.