London: (By Hannah Chowdhry) The defence council for the rapist of a 6 year old Christian child in Lahore, Pakistan failed to attend a court hearing on 2nd December 2021, for the sixth time.
During the hearing Judge Iftikhar Ahmed expressed great disappointment in the repeated failure for a defence council representative to attend court or to have a defence. He also confirmed that failure to attend and introduce a defence before the winter holidays will result in the appointment of a public prosecutor.
fail to attend a public prosecutor will be appointed to cross examine the defendant in the case.
A Christian girl of only six years was beaten and raped after being forcibly taken to the home of an 18 year old Muslim man, in broad daylight, during September 2019, BACA stepped in to help- read more (here).
We have since then provided a solicitor and began the legal procedure to get justice, however the perpetrator Mr Muhammed Waqas and his cohorts began threatening the Christian parents with violence, further rape of Tabitha and their other daughters and financial ruin if they proceeded with a legal case against paedophile Muhammad Waqas (18 yrs). The intimidation towards the family heightened after the rapist was bailed despite clear evidence of his crime and BACA made a decision to move the family to a safe house in a secret location. Read more (here).
Since we began our legal effort for Tabitha Munir (now 8 yrs) and her family progress has been slow, mainly due to the non-arrival of the defence solicitors and the accused, there have also been lawyer strikes, Eid celebrations and Judges holidays that have added to an extremely large number of postponements.
At the last hearing on 17th November 2021, the defendant’s council failed to prepare any defence and assured the Judge that he would be prepared for the next hearing.
For the family of Tabitha this whole court proceeding has been a very taxing effort. Not only did the rapist Waqas Ahmed obtain a post-arrest bail first time of asking, but he has been free since then to intimidate and threaten the family with his cohorts.
Munir Masih, said:
“Only in Pakistan will you see rapists walk free on bail despite clear evidence.
“We are confident that we will win this case but are saddened that Waqas is free to prey on other young girls.
“Even then we have warned all the Christian and other families in our area and the whole community remains vigilant.
“When he is finally convicted we will all breathe a sigh of relief.”
British Asian Christian Association’s solicitor Samaira Hussain, said:
“I am very confident we will get a conviction through this rape case.
“The evidence is stacked in our favour and I have been utterly surprised that post-arrest bail was ever given to Mr Ahmed.
“Tabitha and her family have remained stoic throughout the trials and their patience will be rewarded.“The defence counsel can no longer hide behind postponements and I expect a result will be soon coming.”
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“It is true that Muslim girls and girls from other faiths and cultures in Pakistan are susceptible to rape.
“But at the same time, it is an established fact that Christian girls are more likely to be targeted.
“Not only because of their lower social status, meaning they are ignored by authorities when bringing a case to trial.
“Nor simply because many state judges believe Sharia law trumps state-laws.
"These lawgivers favour men involved in forced Islamic marriages over the lower testament of non-Muslim girls – even when underage of consent.
“Many others factors are involved, including mosques that preach a special place in heaven for those involved in converting kaffir (Quranic derogatory word for non-Muslims), through forced marriage.”
We share with you an extract from the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Boards (CIRB) website (click here) :
“A joint report by Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) and Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP), human rights NGOs based in the Hague and Faisalabad, respectively, indicates that mosque sermons encourage Muslim men to convert Hindu and Christian women to Islam by marrying them (GHRD) and HRFP , 9) a statement that is corroborated by the Jinnah Institute (2011, 55). A representative of HRCP has also reportedly stated that “extremists” preaching at Madrassas [private schools run by Islamic clerics (US 30 July 2012,5)] give instructions on how to convert non-Muslims (The Express Tribune 11 Mar. 20120.”
British Asian Christian Association, have been aware of the love jihad (as described by Indians) since our inception. Young girls who are kidnapped have informed us of how conversations within rapist families, including wives of men who rape and kidnap young girls, reveal how the women have been brain-washed into thinking that what their husbands are doing to these poor Christian girls is somehow holy. Moreover, once these men have the girls in their cutches, they constantly receive advice from Imams and their deputies on what they must do to lock these girls into Islamic marriage. What is powerful about the evidence submitted to the CIRB is that it comes from groups that are Muslim led, ensuring evidence is not deemed biased.
It was estimated in 2014, by a Muslim NGO, that 700 Christian girls are abducted, raped and forced into Islamic Marriage every year. You can read their full report (here). BACA believe a more accurate figure would be over 1000.
It should be noted that Tabitha would not have been considered for Islamic marriage because she was too young by far for consent.
Taking on legal cases like these are an expensive business, we are also providing a safe house, school fees and providing safe travel to and from court for Tabitha and her family. We carry out similar work for many other persecuted Christians and could not do so without your support.