Lahore: Suneel Naeem and his friend Harry Boota were playing video games along with Harry’s brother Yash when four men on motorbikes took the three Christian boys to a remote location for 30 minutes, where they were stripped and raped.
The incident happened at 9.30pm on the 1st March when Suneel (12 yrs) met up with his friends Harry (12 yrs) and Yash (14 yrs) to play video games at a local games arcade and were approached by the gang after 30 minutes.
The alarm was raised by Suneel’s parents who called the parents of Harry and Yash when he failed to return home, as it was unusual for him to be out so late.
Suneel managed to stagger home at 3.30am early the following morning and was received by his father Naeem (40 yrs) who had not slept all night. Naeem and other family members were praying for Suneel and were shocked when they found him crying and trembling with fear.
After being given a glass of water to calm him down, Suneel recounted how he and Harry were approached by four Muslim men after they had had a conversation with Yash Boota. The two younger boys were persuaded by Yash to go with him onto the motorbikes of the men.
The men then rode the children to a remote location where two of the men then dragged the younger two boys off the bikes and into an open field. The young boys were beaten till they submitted to the demands of the Muslim men, at which point the 12 year olds were raped.
Suneel described how he and harry were crying and yelling for help while Yash Boota watched in fear, making no attempt to help the two boys.
After the ordeal Suneel and Harry were threatened not to say anything by the gang as they rode off with Yash, leaving the boys behind naked. Suneel and Harry then tearfully and in pain got dressed and walked for 3 hours till home.
Suneel believes he would recognise the four men if in an identity parade but the police are taking Yash with them to raids, when he says he cannot remember what the men look like. Thus far no men have been arrested.,
Naeem was encouraged to register an FIR by his female employer the following morning at the local police station as both boys were taken to Nawaz Sharif Hospital in Shad Bagh for a medical.
Yash Boota denied knowing the men when he was summoned to the police station to assist the police with their enquiries along with his family.
Daily pressure has been put on Yash Boota to help with the investigation prompting the family to ask Naeem Masih’s family to withdraw the case.
Despite this Naeem is determined to proceed with the case but has stated he will withdraw Yash’s name once the boys have recovered, until then he insists Yash must cooperate.
Describing Suneel as traumatised the family continue to wait anxiously for the medical report results and have requested help to put their children into boarding school, as they are too frightened to attend locally.
Mehwish Bhatti is in continuous contact with the family helping Suneel to come out of trauma through prayers and counselling.
BACA representative Edward Masih visited the family to pray for them and has paid for the medical treatment of Suneel. Mehwish is also helping towards the reconciliation of the two families who were tense over the involvement of Yash who was duped into getting onto the bikes.
The police meanwhile have raided several video games shops and continue with their investigation.
Naeem Masih is a resident of Shad Bagh Lahore and a Sanitary worker at Child’s protection office in Lahore earning £125 per month. In the evening he does embroidery on contract. His wife Shazia Naeem (35 years) works as a maid part-time and earning between £35-£45 monthly. The family have spoken about the deep trauma exhibited by Suneel and have asked BACA to help, Shazia, said:
"Suneel is not eating properly.
"He cry's all the time and has said he does not want to go to a local school.
"Other boy's have been teasing him and it has created a dark sorrow within him.
"We cannot take him to church as they are all closed and he is slowly entering a deep depression.
"We thank Mehwish for her counselling and it is having some effect but it is over the phone because of limitations due to COVID-19.
"We want some professional help for Suneel and our Pastor has suggested United Bible College for a rehabilitation programme and vocational training, to get him back on track.
"Please help us restore Suneel."
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for BACA, said: "We are concerned about the number of children made vulnerable due to all-night gaming arcades in Pakistan.
"Even from when I lived there 17 years ago the fashion for many parents was to let young boys play at these venues till 12am.
"Unless the Government takes swift action to bring in laws countering this awful parenting malaise, more children will suffer under the growing number of pederasts in Pakistan.
"We pray for the immediate metal and physical healing of Harry and Suneel."