The father of a 16-year-old Pakistani Christian girl who was sexually assaulted by Muslim attackers in Sheikhupura, Punjab, has said that he sees no hope in his quest to find justice for his daughter, criticizing the country's legal system.
"Obviously the police will not implicate them," Nasar Masih said of his daughter's rapists, according to Christians in Pakistan.
Masih's daughter was reportedly raped by 23-year-old Muhammad Iqrar and his accomplices on July 7. The father managed to break into Iqrar's house after hearing his daughter's cries, though the attackers fled the scene of the crime.
"I was home when the incident took place. Sonia tried to set herself free and shouted for help but we failed to hear her as the doors were closed," Masih told WWM.
"However, as we eventually heard her cries we rushed and stormed into Iqrar's house. Seeing us, Iqrar fled from the scene leaving Sonia in a critical situation."
Masih fears that the Muslim attackers have the backing of the local political leadership, and predicted that even if the police eventually take action, they will show favor toward the culprits.
Persecution watchdog groups, such as International Christian Concern, also predicted in a statement on Thursday that the authorities "will undoubtedly side with the rapist."
"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 added.
The father reiterated that despite an outcry from Pakistani Christians over the case, he does not "have much hope for justice."
"Even forensic reports can be interfered with, and if Iqrar isn't jailed he will be free to harass us as their house is so near to ours," he added, warning that police could even try to fabricate a story of his daughter and Iqrar being in a relationship.
Other groups, including the British Pakistani Christian Association, have also reported numerous cases this year of Christian girls being kidnapped and forced into Islamic marriages. Earlier in July, the BPCA said that a 14-year-old girl from Shadab Colony in Faisalabad suffered this fate, after which her father was shot and killed when he tried to rescue her.
Najma Bibi, the teenager's mother, told the BPCA that she is seeking justice both for her daughter and her slain husband.
"The police have not done anything substantial to help my daughter, we now have no money to defend our rights and without my husband we have no voice. We live in a hopeless situation, we need help. I pray that my daughter will continue to place her hope in Jesus Christ," Bibi said.
At least 700 Christian girls are raped and forced into Islamic marriages every year, the NGO Movement of Solidarity and Peace said in its 2014 statistics, though the BPCA has argued that even that number is "extremely conservative."