Christian Woman Gang-Raped in Pakistan as Attacks Against Believers Escalate

(Photo: Reuters/Mohsin Raza)Women from the Christian community mourn for their relatives, who were killed by a suicide attack on a church, during their funeral in Lahore, March 17, 2015. Suicide bombings outside two churches in Lahore killed 14 people and wounded nearly 80 others during services on Sunday in attacks claimed by a faction of the Pakistani Taliban.

A Christian woman in Pakistan was brutally attacked and gang-raped by two young Muslim men while her husband was away serving in the army.

The attackers also threatened the woman's young daughter, the British Pakistani Christian Association said on Monday, forcing her to comply to their demands.

"The men treated me like an animal, telling me I was a worthless Christian, but I know my God is a great God. When I screamed they told me that they knew my husband was away and that I was unprotected. They threatened to kill my child if I did not comply with their perverse demands," said the victim, 30-year-old Asia Mushtaq from the Toba Tak Singh district.

"They said Christian women are all whores and they would come back and repeat their debauchery if I ever told anyone. I feel so unclean now, but have done nothing wrong. I want these men to be punished and hope the law will protect me," she added.

The husband, 32-year-old Shakil Khan, was on duty in Peshawar at the time serving the army.

The Muslim attackers knew that Khan was away when they entered the family home at night and attacked Mushtaq. They reportedly bound her wrists and ankles to the bed, before raping her, and threatened to kill her 2-year-old daughter if she resisted.

The Christian woman reported the violent attack at Rajanan Police Station first thing in the morning, and BPCA confirmed that a First Information Report has been registered.

The alleged rapists have since been apprehended by the police, the human rights group said, but because they come from wealthy and influential families, the Pakistani Army has so far refused to offer assistance to Khan as he pursues justice for his wife.

"Another woman finds herself a target of the whims of brutal Muslim rapists in Pakistan, in a society that targets its most vulnerable community: Christians. Furthermore, this time a soldier, whose only desire was to serve and protect his country, has found that the majority of his country do not feel the same way about him," said Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA.

"Moreover, the army he serves has offered little or no protection despite threats being made against him and his family. It pains me to say this but the complex acts of betrayal leave me feeling that Christians have no place in Pakistan's theocratic society," Chowdhry added.

Christian girls and women have been subjected to increasingly violent attacks this past year at the hands of Muslim attackers. Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a lawyer with Legal Evangelical Association Development in Pakistan, said earlier this week that at least five Christian girls have been been kidnapped, married off and forced to convert to Islam in April alone.

"In April in the area of Kasur alone, five Christian girls were kidnapped and converted to Islam and forced to marry their captors. These girls are denied the legal protection of individual rights," Gill told Fides News Agency.

On many occasions Pakistan's local police has failed to register a First Information Report of the crimes, reflecting the persecution that Christians in the country face.

Gill argued that the 'phenomenon continues to have unacceptable proportions,' with a number of cases each year of Christian girls being forced into Muslim marriage going unreported.