London: After a Christian girl of only six years was beaten and raped after being forcibly taken to the home of a Muslim man in broad daylight in September 2019, BACA stepped in to help-
We provided a solicitor and began the legal procedure to get justice, however the perpetrator Mr Muhammed Waqas and his cohorts began threatening the Christian parents with violence, further rape of Tabitha and their other daughters and financial ruin if they proceeded with a legal case against paedophile Muhammad Waqas (18 yrs). The intimidation towards the family heightened after the rapist was bailed despite clear evidence of his crime and BACA made a decision to move the family to a safe house in a secret location.
Since we began our legal effort for Tabita Munir and her family progress has been slow mainly due to the non-arrival of the defence solicitors and the accused, there have also been lawyer strikes, Eid celebrations and Judges holidays that have added to an extremely large number of postponements. Even then we are pleased to share that the legal case is now at it's final stage. It is believed that the defence counsel has intentionally delayed matters in order to allow Mr Waqas an opportunity to entice a compromise agreement with Tabita's family. Under the notorious Qisas and Diyat Laws which allow Muslims in Pakistan to pay for their acquittal in murder and rape trials by paying compensation to the families of the victims. These Sharia laws are widely condemned by humanitarian groups especially Christian charities but seem to be permanently etched into the Pakistan judicial system.
Often Christian families are forced to accept compromise agreements - faced with dire threats from powerful Muslims and because they cannot afford to pay for adequate legal cover to see through to justice. Charities like British Asian Christian Association address this balance by meeting the cost of a solicitor and providing a safe house and thus reduce the levels of impunity that such rapists and murderers once took advantage of.
At a hearing to be held on 13th September at Sessions Court Lahore, Judge Iftikhar Ahmad shall deliberate over the case after hearing arguments from the prosecution and defence and a cross examination of the witnesses. The defence council has been warned to have their defence prepared by this date.
Sumaira Hussain, the solicitor appointed by British Asian Christian Association, said:
"I am confident we will be successful and will gain some justice for Tabitha.
"Tabita has given a strong testimony and this will be the deciding factor in the case I believe.
"She has been brave throughout the process and has described the ordeal she went through before her rescue."
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
"Despite a damning report on Pakistan's awful record of abduction, rape of minority girls by a Muslim NGO back in 2014 the situation seems to be worsening.
"Advancements in the law have not resulted in a higher level of convictions.
"Moreover, Police and other statutory services are bribed to ignore allegations by disenfranchised Christians and other minorities or simply have their own biases.
"Brutal rape attacks on young girls has caused community demoralisation and anxiety.
"Worse still few women can speak out against this atrocity as we are often illiterate in Pakistan due to non-attendance at schools for fear of being kidnapped.
"Pakistan has signed numerous international conventions that oblige the nation to protect women and children but ostensibly they have failed to tangibly meet any of them.
"Even then they secure huge foreign aid budgets from the UK and US and other nations without any true accountability and fudged reports of human rights improvement."
Legal costs for challenging cases such as Tabitha's are not cheap and our group has proven to be the most successful when defending the rights ,of Christians in Pakistan since our inception. We cannot operate without the generosity of our supporters and we thank all those who continue to donate to us. If you have been moved by this story and would like to join our growing list of donors please donate by (clicking here).
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