A Christian minor worker, faced severe violence after sexual harassment
23 Jul 2019
Lahore: July 22, 2019. (PCP) A Christian Domestic Worker in Lahore, sexually harassed, abused and tortured by Muslim men after an alleged allegation of robbing 14 teeth of gold.
Suneha daughter of Sajid Masih aged 14 belongs to a poor family in Lahore Punjab. She helped her mother in cleaning houses and washing clothes to fulfill the needs of her 5 sisters and a brother 1 ½ year.
She faced sexual harassment at the work place and for the same was beaten up severely on her agitation and protest on July 06, 2019.
This minor girl stopped studying in school and began working as a domestic worker along-with her mother Shamim Bibi aged 38 when her father Sajid Masih aged about 42 got sick and suffered lungs problem (asthma) in last couple of years. Because of sickness Sajid Masih is unable to carry his work on and the same caused his family suffering, they become hand to mouth.
(Shamim) her mother took initiative to do work and feed the family and this illiterate mother could find the work of cleaning houses and washing in more than five houses and in this way she helped her children to eat daily bread. It was tough for her to manage complete households alone and especially medicine of her sick husband.
Suneha noticed her mother was helpless to support the family needs even after working door to door. She stopped going school and started helping her mother in working 10 houses a day for the proper schooling of younger sisters, food and father’s medicines.
For last few weeks Suneha did not feel comfortable working at a Muslim Mr. Jahangir’s house (a family newly shifted from Faisalabad). She noticed Jahangir aged 48 staring on her while working and became nervous and feared but could not express this fear to her mother and kept continue working.
It was wedding of Jahangir’s sister in the first week of July, his mother Razia Bibi asked Suneha and her mother to do some extra work and she will pay them for it. Razia also requested Suneha for staying day and night to do extra work in the wedding days. Suneha was afraid but quietly accepted the offer for extra earning. In-between her stay at wedding place she was sexually abused by Jahangir. She faced severe harassment and torture when she complained about Jahangir’s sexual attempt.
The Muslim family locked her in to the room for two days and beat her severely. They threatened her for life if she shared anything about the incident of rape to her.
Later Jahangir and his mother Razia allegedly accused Suneha for robbing 14 teeth of gold and some money. Jahangir made a phone call to the local police for investigation of robbery. Following the call about 6 police constables came to the spot and inquired about robbery. They took Suneha in to a separate room for inquiry while they locked her mother Shamim in the bathroom. During inquiry policemen have been beating Saneha in the presence of Jahangir and other family members. They suggested Suneha to keep shutting her mouth otherwise her family will face consequences.
On July 8, 2019 a case FIR no. 2178/19 offense under section 38 of Pakistan Penal Code was registered nominating Suneha, Shamim (mother), Sajid Masih (father) and Adil Masih (her cousin fiancé) for robbery. Suneha and her mother were taken to the police station where they were again beaten by police. It was mail police station therefore they both were sent to Dar-Ul-Amaan for two days. Later they were freed on post-arrest bails, while Sajid Masih is on pre- arrest bail until July 27, 2019 and Adil has been sent to the judicial lockup on July 20, 2019.
Christians’ True Spirit - CTS got information about the miserable Christian family and the team including Katherine Sapna Director, Nadeem Hassan advocate, Salamat Gill Coordinator and Sunil Karamat Admin CTS visited the family at their place to show solidarity on July 19, 2019 on special request of a reliable friend.
The aggrieved family informed the team that Muslim family showed an open interest to grab their house property too as they said that robbery case can be withdrawn if the Christian family hand over their 3 Marla house property to Jahangir.
Poor family seeking for legal aid, rehabilitation and settlement, they requested CTS to provide life protection and assistance in the legal case in the fake allegation of robbery.
Sexual harassment at work places is a bitter reality in Pakistan, young women and girls often victimized by the rich men in the society and being a week section they suffer gender base violence when they react over sexual advances.