Pakistanis Decry Torture, Death of Christian Girl

12-Year-Old Reportedly Raped by Employer

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

LAHORE, Pakistan, JAN. 25, 2010 ( Citizens in Pakistan are protesting the violent death of a 12-year-old Christian girl who was reportedly raped and tortured by her employer.

Shazia Bashir, 12, was working as a servant for a lawyer, Chaudry Muhammad Neem, in Lahore. Neem and his wife have been arrested amid protests about anti-Christian discrimination in Pakistan.
In its Italian edition, the Fides news agency reported that the girl was born to a very poor Catholic family, and for the past eight months had worked for Neem.

The girl was taken Friday to the Jinnah Hospital in Lahore, but doctors were unable to save her life.
Thousands of people attended her funeral, held on Monday in Lahore, including Christian leaders of all confessions. Many Muslims also expressed their solidarity.
Shazia’s case «is only one of the many incidents of mistreatment and humiliations that Christians suffer — especially the poorest — when they are employed as workers, often for very menial services, in Muslims’ homes,» Fides reported.
Shazia’s salary was 1,000 rupees a month (about $12), with which she helped her family, made up of her parents, two married sisters and an eight-year-old brother. Some reports claimed that even this salary was sometimes denied her.

The lawyer reportedly tried to buy the parents’ silence, offering them 20,000 rupees (about $250). Pakistani officials have promised compensation to Shazia’s family and asserted that justice will be done.

Francis Mehboob Sada, director of the Rawalpindi-based Christian Study Center, told Fides: «The tragic case of Shazia will not be the last. It’s very sad. The girl was tortured and killed for no reason.
«She was young, weak and Christian, hence, the perfect victim. We are indignant over a situation which is untenable.»

Shazia’s death was also condemned by the National Human Rights Commission and by other organizations active in civil society.

Christians, Hindus and other minorities combined make up 5% of Pakistan’s more than 176 million people.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation