Muslim Stalker Threatens Pakistani Christian Girl With Acid Attack for Not Marrying Him
Pakistani authorities have been accused of failing to protect a 17-year-old Christian girl who for years has been sexually harassed and stalked by a Muslim man who threatened to throw acid on her.
The British Pakistani Christian Association said Tuesday that the girl, Samina Iqbal from the town of Rawalpindi, has been heckled since 2013 by a man 10 years her senior who is trying to get her to marry him.
Iqbal said the man has been "accosting her daily on her way to school."
From her account, according to BPCA, he would often block her path and demand that she speak with him and marry him.
The marriage proposals at the time went against Pakistani law, which states that a bride should be at least 16 years of age, BPCA noted.
The teenager explained that the man would wait for her every day on her way to school.
"For Samina, however, the chance of meeting with him filled her with fear and dread, so much so that often she would stay at home and cry her day away having lost all hope," BPCA added, noting that the man would also sit outside her house and yell her name.
After family talks with the man failed, Iqbal stopped attending school and did not leave her home for an entire year, becoming seriously ill and depressed.
The BPCA said the suspect has even pulled a dagger and chased away a police officer who wanted to talk to him about the case.
The watchdog group said that police have failed to deal with the man despite his threats, including one instance in which he threatened to throw acid on Iqbal.
The ongoing harassment has forced the Christian teenager to leave her job and see a number of opportunities for a better life cut off.
"It's sad to hear how this Christian girl has lost her ambitions and dreams of a brighter future, because fear of an impending and looming attack has left her so disheveled. Samina should have the freedom to live as she wants and this man should be punished. He has left her without an education and has destroyed a promising career," said BPCA Officer Mehwish Bhatti.
Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA, added: "Once again the police services provided in Pakistan are brought to disrepute simply for failing comply with their own protocol. The indiscipline and lack of empathy shown for Samina and her family is indicative of the low value placed on Christian lives."
"Sexual harassment is not new to Pakistani authorities, nor is the blatant ignoring of submitted complaints which actually follows a very usual pattern," he said.
"Our lead officer will be raising this new sexual harassment case with senior police officials and we hope to get a crime registered, however it should not be the duty of NGO's to galvanize police response."
The watchdog group has started a fund to support Iqbal's family.
Hundreds of Christian girls are kidnapped and forced into Islamic marriage each year in Pakistan.
Several cases have made international news in the past couple of years, including one from April 2016 when five Christian girls were taken from their parents and forced to convert to Islam.
"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," Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a lawyer with Legal Evangelical Association Development in Pakistan, said at the time.
Christians in Pakistan reported in July 2016 of a father seeking justice for his 16-year-old Christian daughter who was sexually assaulted by Muslim attackers in Sheikhupura, Punjab.
Other groups, such as International Christian Concern, have warned that authorities too often side with rapists in such cases.
"There are many such instances of persecution of Christians at the hands of Muslims in Pakistan, with little reaction or justice from the authorities," ICC has said.