London: A Pakistani Christian girl named Tabitha (7yrs) was kidnapped and raped by an 18-year-old Muslim man, whilst playing on the streets with friends after school on 19th September 2019. Less than a year later the rapist Muhammed Waqas was set free on bail granted to him on 9th September 2020. Since then the Tabitha's family have been receiving, insults and threats of violence and death unless they choose to drop the court case against Muhammed Waqas.
In a video recording we shared last month young Tabitha can be heard saying: “I am afraid of being caught by him again”
On Sunday 27th of September 2020, while coming back from Sunday service, her mother Rubina Bibi (38 yrs) and brother Zakriya Munir (18yrs) saw Waqas with a gang of friends standing at the corner of their street staring at Christian girls returning home from Church.
Frightened and angry, Rubina asked the men not stand at the street corner, but the miscreant Waqas and his cousins stepped forward and replied disdainfully;
“Go! Do whatever you can.
"We won’t go anywhere.
This is our country”
After a few hot verbal exchanges, they started fighting with Zakriya in front of his mother who couldn't do anything to save her son. Zakriya sustained injuries to his eyes, face and back.
Later that evening, Ali a wealthy landlord from the area arrived with around 20 men and called for father Munir Masih (44 yrs) to come out of his house. He said;
“Did you get any justice?”
"No! we have Waqas out of jail, you see.”
“I asked you to take some money and compromise but you didn’t”
“Now if you ever try to take on our Muslim boys, we will set your house on fire.”
That same night Munir Masih called BACA's Operations Manager and spoke to him about his family's vulnerability. He said:
“No neighbor came to our rescue or to speak up for us - we felt all alone and terrified”
“We were told my only son was in danger and have been worrying that they would kill him”
BACA arranged for a safe house and relocated the family into a safe house the very next week. we also helped Tabita and her three elder sisters to resume their studies in a local school, which is in the next street to their new home. Tabita and her sisters were eager to return to their studies and had been feeling extremely worried about their futures, after their parents stopped their education to prevent them being kidnapped in the face of many threats.
Munir Masih, is now looking forward to resuming the court case against paedophile Muhammed Waqas. He said:
"We will fight for justice for Tabitha.
“We will go any length to see the perpetrator of this despicable crime put behind bars, so that other children are safe”
The next hearing is on 29th October 2020 and it is expected that the witnesses shall record their statements in the court.
Joel Kyari, Trustee for the British Asian Christian Association, said:
"I am perturbed at the ease by which a child rapist has been able to obtain bail, this is a poor indictment of Pakistan's Judicial system.
"Failure by local authorities to investigate properly, illustrates how crimes against Christians are tolerated.
"More should be done by international Governments to shed light on the human rights failures in Pakistan, a country that has ratified many UN conventions."
British Asian Christian Association, has been providing safe houses, legal advocates and other financial and welfare support to Asian Christians. To sustain Tabitha and other victims we rely on donations from our supporters.