A wealthy Muslim man in Pakistan’s Punjab Province ordered his workers to abduct a Christian mother of five and then he repeatedly raped, drugged and beat her for 20 days, according to a report.
The 30-year-old Christian woman, Venus Bibi, who is from Sahoo Ki Malian village near Sheikhupura city, had gone out for household shopping on April 1 when she was abducted and held captive until April 20, according to her husband, Warris Masih, the Pakistan Christian Post reported.
When she was returning home, some Muslim men blocked her way and told her to accompany them without making a noise, Masih said, adding that before she could respond, they grabbed her by the hand and dragged her to a car that was parked nearby.
Masih identified the abductor as Muhamad Akbar, a wealthy and influential Muslim man who had previously kidnapped a separate Christian woman but escaped punishment. After several attempts, Masih said policemen forced Akbar to release Bibi, who was later found on a roadside near her village but she was unable to walk.
Bibi and Masih are both brick kiln workers, and they suspect that police accepted a bribe from Akbar.
“I want justice for my wife,” Masih was quoted as saying. “I want all the kidnappers arrested and punished for their crimes so they can stop kidnapping more Christian women.”
Commenting on the incident, the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern said, “With the second-largest Muslim population in the world, Christians in Pakistan are seen as second-class citizens and are provided little protection by their government.
“As a result, Christian girls and women are often kidnapped, tortured, and killed without consequence for their perpetrators.”
The incidence of abduction of Christian girls and women, and, in many cases, also their forced marriage and conversion to Islam, is high in Pakistan.
International persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA ranks Pakistan No. 5 on its 2021 World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most severe persecution due to an “extreme” level of Islamic oppression. Pakistan is also listed by the U.S. State Department as a "country of particular concern" for tolerating in or engaging in egregious violations of religious freedom.
Last month, a 32-year-old Christian man, Arif Masih, was allegedly poisoned and killed by a group of radical Muslims for defending his sister from harassment on the street in the Muslim-majority Tariqabad village of the Punjab province on May 23, the Union of Catholic Asian News reported.
Earlier that week, two young men dragged his sister into the street and stripped her naked after following her home from the store and breaking into the home.
They fought her brother, Masih, who filed a complaint against Muhammad Tariq and Muhammad Majid, the two men who harassed his sister on May 20.
According to Asia News, the men were not arrested and Masih was reportedly threatened for not dropping the complaint and was attacked by the perpetrators three days later.
The perpetrators allegedly loaded Masih on their motorcycle, beat him, poisoned him and threw him into the street. He was taken to the hospital but did not survive his injuries.