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UK Group Seeks Justice for Christian Girls Gang-Raped by 5 Pakistani Muslims

UK Group Seeks Justice for Christian Girls Gang-Raped by 5 Pakistani Muslims

Members of the Pakistani Christian community attend a protest rally to condemn Sunday's suicide attack in Peshawar on a church, in Islamabad, September 23, 2013. A pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the 130-year-old Anglican church in Pakistan after Sunday mass, killing at least 78 people in the deadliest attack on Christians in the predominantly Muslim country. | (Photo: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood)

An organization based in the United Kingdom continues to push for justice on behalf of two Christian girls who were gang raped by five Pakistani Muslims.

Last December the Pakistani teenagers, named Sherish and Farzana who live in the Islamic Republic's Punjab province, were reportedly gang raped by the five Muslim men because they're Christian.

The British Pakistani Christian Association has stepped in to help Sherish and Farzana, as well as their family, in the wake of the gang rape and at least one violent incident of intimidation.

Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the BPCA, told The Christian Post about how his organization came to learn about the crime.

"One of our Pakistani officers, Shamim Mahmood, is a reporter for a Pakistani daily. On hearing about the gang rape incident, he informed our head office and we immediately organized for him to visit the family to see if we could offer any advocacy or support," said Chowdhry.

"At the time the family was being visited by a number of charities and informed us that they were being cared for."

Chowdhry also told CP about the status of the case, which has been a challenge to undertake given the intimidation from some in the community and apparent corruption within local law enforcement.

"Two of the three men with rape charges have been given bail and as a consequence of this we have paid for the father to meet a Christian human rights lawyer, who runs a legal NGO, in Lahore," said Chowdhry.

"We want to see justice for these girls and a win will send a strong message to potential rapists that Christian girls are not their playthings."

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of violent incidents of intolerance against Pakistan's Christian minority.

Often these acts are performed by either pro-Taliban terrorists with ties to neighboring Afghanistan or mobs stirred up against local Christian families.

According to the BPCA, the family of the two rape victims has been "left to their own devices" as local help has been "slow" and local authorities have been less than cooperative in pursuing justice.

Last month, a pair of motorcyclists reportedly fired into the family's house, threatening them for being Christian and telling them they shouldn't be living in an Islamic country.

Chowdhry told CP that a Muslim friend of the family heard the incident and called the police who arrived to the house "extremely late."

"However, his description and knowledge of the two boys' identity led to the gunmen being arrested and they face trial," Chowdhry told CP.

"Advocate Mushtaq Ahmed is taking the cases to Lahore High Court away from the power center of the local landlords and has great hope that we can be successful with these legal actions."

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