Pakistani Christian Maid Burned to Keep Rape Quiet

A Christian maid in Pakistan died last week from severe burn wounds after threatening to report her master's son to the police for raping her.

Eighty percent of Kiran George's body was burned when she was brought to the Mayo Hospital in Lahore last week. She died two days later on Thursday. Before she died, however, she reported to police officials that the son of her Muslim employer had doused her with gasoline and set her on fire after she threatened to report the rape.

George is from a poor Christian family from the town of Sheikhupura in the eastern province of Punjab. She reportedly had first confided in friends about the sexual assault but did not initially go to the police for fear of losing her job, according to AsiaNews.

But later when she told Muhammad Raza Ahmda, her master's son, that she was going to tell the police, he blocked her from leaving the house, poured gasoline on her with the help of his sister, and set her on fire.

When her master found out, he failed to take her to the hospital. Instead, he called her parents and told them that her clothes had caught on fire while cleaning the kitchen.

George's tragic death is similar to that of 12-year-old Shazia Bashir, who died in January. Shazia, who was Catholic, had 17 listed injuries on her body, according to a medical report, when her family brought her to the hospital. She soon died from those injuries. Her family accused her master, a powerful Muslim lawyer, of torturing, raping and murdering the girl.

The case of Shazia sparked international outcry against the girl's master and at Pakistan's social system that allowed for regular abuse of servants to occur. Physical abuse of maids is common in Pakistan, but Shazia's case gained special attention because of how young the victim was.

Shazia's master, Muhammad Naeem, former president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association, had also called her family when she died and made up the excuse that she had fallen down the stairs and died of complications from a skin disease.

The 12-year-old girl had received just $8 a month to wash Naeem's floors, cars and bathrooms. The money the girl earned was used to pay off the family's debt.

Naeem was released on bail and in the case of George, police are investigating Ahmda based on the report she gave before she died.

Christians in Pakistan are usually very poor and are given few economic opportunities. They are regularly discriminated against and are victims of blasphemy laws. Muslims often falsely accuse Christians of blasphemy against the Muslim prophet Muhammad or the Quran as justification for violent acts against them or as excuse to send them to jail. The real reason for the violence is usually some personal dispute unrelated to blasphemy.