Rescuing Girls

The Plight of Christian Girls in Pakistan: A Call for Justice and Protection

Original Article from Farrukh H. Saif Executive Director WVIP (now ECSPE.org)

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In the deeply rural area of Tehsil Yazman Mandi, Bahawalpur, a dire incident underscores the chronic vulnerabilities faced by Christian girls in Pakistan. Saima Masih, a 16-year-old resident and the daughter of a modest cultivator, Gulzar Masih, became the target of horrific acts perpetrated by influential local figures.

Saima was often subjected to harassment by Muhammad Javed, a prominent Muslim landlord. On January 25, 2012, her ordeal escalated when Javed shamelessly harassed her in a public marketplace and proposed marriage. Saima rejected his proposal, feeling insulted and threatened. Later that day, she confided in her parents about the distressing experience. Her parents immediately sought to address the issue by confronting Javed’s father, Muhammad Riaz, who far from reprimanding his son, menacingly warned them of dire consequences.

This terrifying saga continued on March 9, 2012, when Javed, with the aid of Zubaida Bibi—a close neighbor trusted by Saima’s family—kidnapped her while her parents were away. They took her to Gujrat where Javed and his uncle, Muhammad Sardar, subjected her to repeated sexual assaults. Despite her father lodging a formal complaint at the local police station, law enforcement failed to take any action, further jeopardizing Saima’s safety.

On March 15, under duress, Saima was forcibly converted to Islam with her signatures and thumb impressions collected on various documents without her consent. Shortly after, on March 21, Javed coerced her into signing an Islamic marriage certificate.

For six agonizing months, Saima endured relentless abuse until September 12, 2012, when she found a way to escape and return home. She and her parents attempted to seek justice once more, but their efforts were stymied by Javed’s influence and wealth.

The case took a turn when the World Vision International Pakistan (WVIP) became aware of Saima’s plight. The WVIP legal team immediately took action and attempted to file an FIR against Muhammad Javed, but their application was dismissed by the session court in Bahawalpur. Undeterred, WVIP has escalated the matter to the High Court seeking justice for Saima and her family, who, under continuous threats from Javed and other political figures, have been forced into hiding in a safe house provided by WVIP.

Farrukh H. Saif, the Executive Director of WVIP, emphasized the broader context, noting the rampant abuse and exploitation of Christian girls in Pakistan. “Rape and abduction are wielded as weapons against Christian and other religious minority communities,” said Saif. “Fear, along with economic disadvantage, often prevents these victims from seeking justice, contributing to a shockingly low number of reported cases. The majority never reach the media or the courts.”

A Call for Awareness and Action

The harrowing experience of Saima Masih is not an isolated case but part of a systemic issue that requires urgent attention and action. It highlights the need for strong international pressure on Pakistan to safeguard the rights and dignities of all, regardless of religious affiliations.

We urge our readers to raise awareness about these injustices and support organizations like WVIP that are on the frontline, offering legal assistance and safe shelters to victims like Saima. Every voice counts and can help bring change to ensure that no girl like Saima suffers in silence.

Your support can make a life-changing difference. **Stand with Saima – Advocate for Justice and Safety for All Girls.**

By Max Gibson

Max Gibson, also known as Mosheh, holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and has competed on his college's crew, cross country and track and field teams. Max co-founded the College Republicans and has run successful businesses, including Apex Web Services, which serves as CTO for non-profits Farrukh Saif Foundation and 'Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved.' He has been in a leadership position in the non-profit sector since 2011. In addition to his business pursuits, Max is a combat veteran of three major wars and is known for his generosity and strong belief in God.
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