Sialkot (AsiaNews) – The All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) has managed to secure the release of two Christian women who were kidnapped and tortured for three months by a Muslim couple of Sialkot who wanted to convert them to Islam. The APMA director, Shabhaz Batti, told AsiaNews about the women and called on the government to “punish those guilty of this atrocious incident as severely as possible.”
Bhatti told how Nasreen Pervez, 40, and her daughter, Razia, 13, “went to the home of Muhammad Ikram, a Muslim of Sialkot, after the death of Nasreen’s husband, Pervaiz, in September.” Pervaiz “ran a poultry breeding farm in Punjab, but his business was struck by bird flu and he got ill and died. After his death, mother and daughter started to work as servants in the residence of Muhammad, their neighbour.”
However, after they had been working there for one month, Muhammad “refused to pay their salary and together with his wife, kidnapped the two women. They tore the crosses from their necks and forbade them to pray. They demanded that the women change their faith and convert to Islam and when they refused, they tortured them.”
At night, “they were chained to prevent them from escaping. Razia’s right foot was injured with the shards of a broken bottle and both had burns on their bodies. One day, Muhammad threatened to kill their relatives if they continued to be hard headed and to refuse to change religion or if they tried to escape.”
He even brought a bottle of acid and a syringe: “You will die with this in your body”. Nasreen responded: “You may kill us but we will not convert.”
After three months, Nasreen’s eldest daughter, Sheeba, went to visit her mother and little sister but Muhammad and his wife chased her away and threatened her: “Don’t come back unless you want to see them dead.” Worried, Sheeba turned to the village elders who contacted APMA.
The association “immediately went to the Lahore High Court and denounced what was going on. The judge ordered the intervention of a court bailiff who, together with our team, freed the two women.”
Bhatti said: “The growing victimization of Christians and minorities in general is alarming. We try to help the families of victims and at the same time, to find legal and practical channels to help those submitted to such violence, but the government must intervene forcefully to stop them.”
He said Christians around the world “can help us with prayer: ask the Lord for protection and justice for those who suffer for their faith.”
Sheron Masih was 17 years old and had just begun attending public school. Classmates beat him to death with sticks because he tried to drink water. His murder, "just the tip of the iceberg; below, a great mountain of hatred and discrimination against minorities. "