By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
BHAWALNAGAR, PAKISTAN (ANS – July 8, 2017) — In January, BPCA (British Pakistani Christian Association – www.britishpakistanichristians.org) reported on the devastating rape of Saiba, a three year old child, while her mother was out of the home working as a sanitary worker at a Government hospital to cover the regular living expenses for their household.
Now, 6 months later, Saiba’s mother Catherine is still fighting for justice for her daughter and a conviction of the rapist whose brutal attack now means Saiba can never bear children.
BPCA spoke with her lawyer, Khurram Shezad, who advised them on her case. He said: “Saiba’s case is being heard within the session court at Bhawalnagar, however we have had several delays as the solicitor who should have been appearing for Muhammed Abbas, failed to turn up at any hearing.”
Shezad informed BPCA that at the last hearing, on July 3, the presiding judge directed that a legal aid lawyer will now represent Abbas, and the next hearing is to be heard on July 13.
BPCA says Catherine Bibi is now at breaking point — the court process has been draining and she desperately wants the court to bring justice to this situation through a conviction. She explained to BPCA officer Mehwish Bhatti that she just wants closure now.
Catherine has called for prayers from the Christian community across the globe for justice and healing for her daughter. She said: “My daughter is innocent of any crime at such a young and vulnerable age she has been subjected to a most brutal and evil attack, from a man with no morals. If this evil rapist is jailed it will not remove the vile treatment my daughter suffered.
“I call on prayers from anyone moved by my daughter’s plight. Please pray that she is completely healed and can one day have children, which is a natural process designed by God and a real blessing for women.”
BPCA said that in a country without a benefits system, single mother, 38-year-old Catherine Bibi was forced to leave her younger 10-year-old son Daud to care for Saiba, while she worked cleaning shifts at the local hospital, and eldest son Altaf Masih (21 yrs) worked as a rickshaw driver.
“Leaving older children in charge of young children is a very normal occurrence in feudal Pakistan, where families live a meager existence with little or no help from their government,” the group said in a media release.
While the adults were out, a Muslim friend of Altaf named Muhammed Abbas knocked on the door of Catherine’s house to ask if Altaf was home. When he discovered that Altaf was not at home he sent Daud on an errand to the local shop to buy some cigarettes for him. It is alleged that while Daud was out, Abbas raped Saiba — leaving Daud waiting outside for him to open the door. When he finished his assault on Saiba, he walked out of the property, grabbing the cigarettes bought by Daud. He lit one cigarette, thanked Daud for buying them, and rushed off after a quick apology for leaving Daud outside his own home for a short while.
Daud entered the property to find his sister screaming loudly. Saiba was naked and covered in blood and Daud in his panic did not know what to do; he started to cry and held his sister tightly. Fortunately, only minutes later mother Catherine returned from work and, despite her shock, took charge of the situation.
She called her son home and the whole family traveled to a nearby hospital which was in their price range and asked for an investigation of what had happened to Saiba. The hospital confirmed a rape had occurred and despite the anguish and pain they felt Catherine and her family traveled to the local police station to seek an investigation into the attack and the apprehension of pedophile Muhammed Abbas.
BPCA says that initially, police refused to investigate the rape, which the family believe is due to the fact that the complainants were Christian. However, after the visit of a local MP who exerted pressure on the Police, an investigation ensued.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said: “A young child suffered one of the most harrowing experiences she will ever know throughout her life. Saiba has had to undergo surgery that should not be necessary for a perfectly healthy child and is now unable to bear children.
“Saiba is a darling of a child bubbly and vivacious with a totally endearing personality and beautiful smile; why an evil pedophile would enact such pain on her is beyond my understanding.
“My Christian faith leads me to totally abhor this crime and, like so many people moved by this atrocious incident, I want justice for Saiba, not only for her sake but for the sake of 10-year-old Daud who is steeped in guilt, despite also being an innocent victim. Moreover, I pray this rapist is jailed for a long term so that other children do not have to face the malevolent evil Abbas would inflict upon them.
“The fact that police ignored the plight of this family due to a belief that Christians are undesirable elements of society is a poor indictment of the justice system of Pakistan. A failure to convict Abbas, despite a raft of evidence, would quite simply destroy their international reputation and nullify any claim that they are a democratic nation.”
BPCA will continue to provide financial support for this family. The family requires help towards living costs and schooling, enabling Catherine to care for her children while they grow and send them to school.
“We intend to help this family for the long term until the children have grown to adulthood and are no longer so vulnerable. We need your support to do this,” Chowdhry said.
Please pray for complete healing for Saiba and for her to completely forget the pain of this acrimonious crime. Pray for her to grow up strong in knowing of God’s protection in her life and to be free of any trauma from this dreadful attack.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman at British Pakistani Christian Association. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile – +44 7854 972343 (interviews can be arranged with Maherwar Ishaq)
Photo captions: 1) Saiba is still bubbly and jovial, but one day she will have to come to terms with the attack that has scarred her for life (BPCA photo). 2) Mehwish Bhatti meets regularly with the family (BPCA photo). 3) Michael Ireland
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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