PAKISTAN: Christian Woman Injured and Denied Justice

21 May 2024

Source: Morning Star News

A twenty-four-year-old Christian mother of two, Saima Bibi, was working last month with her husband, Shahzad Masih, on the farm of two Muslim landlords in Faisalabad District, Pakistan. Relatives had come to visit them on 12 April, the third day of the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Fitr. Saima was making tea for their guests when one of the landlords, Mustafa arrived and rebuked them for not cutting fodder for the cattle.

“I immediately got up and started to cut the fodder in the electric chaff cutter, but as soon as my wife came outside to give me tea, [the landlord] started hurling abuses at her and told her to get to work,” Masih told sources. “When Saima said that she’ll begin work in 10 minutes, the landlord pulled her from the hair and pushed her towards the chaff cutter, causing her to fall and hit her head in the running machine.” Besides tearing off her ear and cutting most of her scalp, the chaff cutter also injured her right eye, he said. “Blood started gushing out of Saima’s head, and she screamed and cried in pain,” Masih said. “Seeing her in a bloody mess, the landlord fled the scene.”

Her cries brought a large number of villagers to the site, including the other Muslim landowner who took her to hospital in his car. “[The landlord] threatened me with even more serious consequences if we did not say that the incident was the result of an accident,” he said. “Saima was in great pain, and naturally my priority was to get her treated immediately. The doctors gave her first aid and shifted her to the plastic surgery ward, where she’s still under treatment.”

On 24 April, Masih tried to file a case against the landlord but “[the police] showed reluctance in filing a case against [our landlord] because of his influence. Instead, they pressured me to withdraw the application and settle the matter directly with the accused. It’s been nearly a month now that we are trying to register a First Information Report [FIR].” Masih continued, “We were occupied with Saima’s treatment, which is why I couldn’t file a complaint earlier.”

Lawyer Akmal Bhatti, chairman of the Minorities Alliance Pakistan, said the aggrieved family had contacted him to obtain justice. “The police’s inaction and bias against the victim’s minority status exemplifies systemic challenges and discriminatory practices prevalent in rural policing,” he told sources. Bhatti said that he had filed a petition in the Faisalabad sessions court asking it to direct the police to register a case against Mustafa and initiate legal action against him.

Bhatti said the Muslims also hindered the medico-legal examination of Saima Bibi, resulting in an inordinate delay. “The medical examination has finally been done, and now we are waiting for the police to register an FIR and arrest the accused,” he said. “The perpetrators tried to show this incident as an accident and have used all their political and financial powers to not let the medico-legal certificate be issued, which is essential to the pursuance of the case.”

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    Pray for them

    Pray that God would administer His healing to Saima, restoring her to full health and reuniting her with her family.

    Pray that God would bring the truth to light in her case and justice would prevail.

    Pray for the salvation of those who seek to harm Christians in Pakistan.

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