A local court acquits Muslim men who had gang raped two Christian girls last year.
In keeping with details, two Muslim men namely Shahbaz and Muhammad Azeem who had gang raped two Christian girls last year have been acquitted by a local court. Both of them were charged with the crime and thus were facing the trial. However, the victim girls’ father, Ilyas Masih, claims that a major witness in the case had taken back his words and changed his testimony against the two Muslims which has resulted in this acquittal.
Ilyas Masih claims that the witness, Ghafoor has accepted bribe from the culprits and for this reason has spoken in favour of the culprits. British Pakistani Christian Association which has closely followed this case states, “The case has allegedly been lost due to the unreliability of a key witness who originally, in the face of threats, refused to attend the court, then when instructed to attend by the court changed his original statement. Mr. Ghafoor, who was previously a family friend, has been accused of taking a bribe and altering his statement in lieu of this payment.”
However, Ilyas Masih is resolute to get justice for his daughters. He said that he will not give up and challenge the decision in a higher court. He is of the opinion that the police and judge were biased and showed partiality in this case.
He says that after the incident, the culprits, police and the local influential Muslims had pressurised him to withdraw his complaint against Shahbaz and Azeem. The family claimed that local police “obstructed attempts to gather medical evidence.”
“The judge and police displayed a clear bias toward the culprits because of the religious discrimination, I am really upset and disappointed that we have lost the case and didn’t get justice. Our lawyer didn’t fight the case very well and showed a poor level of commitment. Mostly he stayed absent from the hearings of the case in the court. The lawyer didn’t even participate in the cross questioning of the culprits in the court,” he said.
Moreover, he said that despite severe pressure not to pursue this case, he pressed on only for the sake of his two daughters. He claims that police had harboured grudges on the basis of religion, and thus did not investigate into the case as they should have.”From the very first day, there were many drawbacks in the investigation.”
Ilyas Masih, now is fearful of possible aggression from the two Muslim culprits, Shahbaz and Azeem as they might try and take revenge from him. He plans to move to some other place as the two have been set free from the jail.
The incident took place on November 28, 2014, in Jaranwala village of Punjab province of Pakistan. At night time, the two Christians girls went outside their house to use a bathroom as their house had no such facility. When they were still outside, Shahbaz and Azeem kidnapped them at gunpoint, and raped them. They left them unconscious along the roadside.
Seeing that both the sisters were missing from their house, a search was made and they were found still unconscious. The Christian family took them to the hospital where they received necessary medical treatment. Shortly, an FIR was filed on complaint by Ilyas Masih nominating both the culprits and as a result both were arrested.
Threats were hurled at the Christian family, even so group of Muslims open fire at their house just to terrify them and harass them to withdraw their complaint; however the Christian family did not give up on the case.