Rapist of a 7-year-old Pakistani Christian girl has been sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment. This ruling is welcomed by the rights activist as an exceptional example of justice for a Christian minor sexually assaulted.
On May 2, a Pakistani court hearing the case of the victim Saira Bibi; handed the sentence of 14 years in jail to Fakhr-e-Alam a Mulsim man. Judge Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali ruled that the rapist Fakhr-e-Alam will also pay a fine of 200,000 Pakistani rupees. The rapist was sent to the Sialkot District jail right away.
In 2014, April 20 Fakhr-e-Alam sexually assaulted 7-year-old Saira. At that time, Fakhr was seventeen years old; for this reason the court spared him from maximum punishment for rape. The maximum punishment for rape is 25 years of imprisonment but he was spared on the grounds of being a juvenile at the time of the incident.
The victim told the court that on April 20, she went to a shop when Fakhr forcefully took her to a nearby compound and sexually assaulted her. When Saira’s brothers Shahbaz Masih and Emmanuel Masih were informed that their sister had been taken by Fakhr; they rushed towards the compound. When they arrived at the scene, Fakhr fled.
After the incident, Saira’s family was pressurized by the local landlords and influential people not to pursue police case against Fakhr-e-Alam. However, as a result of the media coverage of the case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took notice of the case and directed the Punjab police to submit a report on this case.
But despite having seen the case through to victory, Saira’s family still face adversity, including violent threats, social stigma and the loss of their home and jobs. The family fled their village after her case attracted local antagonism and now reportedly live on the roadside in the city of Sialkot.
Despite the fact that the court has handed down imprisonment to the rapist, victims’ family still faces hostility from the villagers. They had lost their home and jobs owing to opposition from the fellow villagers. They were threatened and shamed to such an extent that they had to flee from their village.
“Only days before the court decision came, my husband was working with a landlord nearby who removed him from service because we had refused to withdraw our case”, Saira’s mother told World Watch Monitor.
“Few days ago, two men stopped my son Shahbaz, who brought the case, to tell him that all four sons would now suffer consequences. I told him if anyone says this to him next time, he must tell them to do whatever they want, but only dare to come in the daylight, so others can see what is being done to us. Our heavenly father is with us and we are not afraid of anything”, she stated.