Provincial Minister for Minorities’ Affairs calls on the family of Christian victim of sexual assault

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Punjab’s Provincial Minister for Minorities’ Affairs and Human Rights Khalil Tahir Sandhu called on the bereaved family of the 12-year-old Christian schoolgirl who was murdered after being sexually assaulted. The victim Tania Marriam, was heinously murdered while initially the police claimed that the girl had committed suicide.

Gender based violence against Pakistani Christians

Khalil Tahir Sandhu met with the bereaved family and offered condolences to them. At this occasion, Members of Punjab Assembly Shahzad Munshi also accompanied him. The provincial minister assured the family of the victim that the perpetrators would not be spared and justice will be served. At the same time, he announced that the Provincial Ministry for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs will pursue the case on behalf of Tania’s family.

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Provincial Minister also directed the police officials to carry out fair investigations into the case and arrest the culprits as soon as possible. He ordered the concerned police officials to submit the investigation report to him. This report would be submitted to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for further action. He directed the police officials to leave no stone unturned while carrying out the investigations.

The incident took place on January 23, while the Sambrial Police initially maintained the girl had committed suicide overlooking the evidences pointing towards poisoning and rape. Victim’s dead body was found from the Upper Canal. The police in this case exhibited customary reluctance in registering the FIR of the incident however, followed by outcry from the activists and BPCA an FIR was registered including charges of murder.

The first information report (FIR) stated that Tania’s brother Johnson her at her school Convent of Jesus and Mary, in Sialkot Cantt area. Later the same day, he received a phone call from the police that dead body of his sister has been found and he was asked to come and identify the dead body. He was further informed that the girl had committed suicide, however the family of the victim were not willing to accept this statement.

On January 23, victim Tania was dropped to her school Convent of Jesus and Mary, by her elder brother Johnson. Around 11:30 am, Johnson received a phone call from Police Station informing him about the murder of his sister Tania. Police had asked him to come to the scene and identify his sister’s dead body. Tania died apparently by drowning in the canal. Police claim they found Johnson’s phone number on a register found with the girl.