Pakistani Christians are in the minority in their country, posing no threat to those who are of the Muslim faith, and yet they are being targeted. Two-and-a-half years ago Christians raised concerns about the growing influence of the Islamic State in Pakistan-government officials ignored their concerns.
Wilson Chowdhry of the British Pakistani Christians Association (BPCA) told CBN News, “Christians are a highly vulnerable and regularly persecuted body of people in Pakistan and justice is hard to come by as families are either forced to accept a bribe under duress in exchange for an acquittal of perpetrators, or face another family member being attacked or killed.”
So when little Saiba’s rapist was sent to jail for 25 years and fined the equivalent of $1300 for the crime he committed in December 2016, Chowdhry described it as a “highly unusual case of justice for Christians.”
The day of the rape, then 2-year-old Saiba was left with her 10-year-old brother at home while their mother and older brother went to work. Mohammed Abbas, a neighbor of the family, knew that the adults were away, so he made his move. He visited the home and asked Daoud, Saiba’s brother, to go to the store and buy him some cigarettes. When Daoud returned home, he found the door locked.
“I could hear Saiba crying and screaming louder than I have ever heard her scream before. I knew there was a problem and banged loudly on the door but no one was opening the door for me,” he recalled.
After about 30 minutes, Abbas came out of the house and took the pack of cigarettes from the 10-year-old boy. He opened the package, lit a cigarette and smiled at Daoud before walking away. The young boy rushed into the home and comforted his baby sister as best as he could until his mother returned from work.
“When my mum came minutes later she cleaned the blood off Saiba’s naked body and wrapped her in a towel. We both hugged her to bring peace to her,” said Daoud.
Two years later, Saiba is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is regularly having nightmares due to her brutal attack.
Due to the brutality of the rape, she suffered massive physical damage to her reproductive organs. The hospital officials who treated Saiba believe that her chances to bear children will be slim to none.
Saiba’a family, who Chowdhry describes as ‘brave and devout Christians’, continue to receive help from their church family as well as the BPCA.
I cannot begin to fathom the pain and trauma that Saiba family is going through, especially Saiba herself, who is now 4 years old. Her legal victory gives hope to other Christians in the Muslim-majority country. As Chowdry says, it is showing the world that Christians are strong and brave people who are willing to fight and stand their ground, even when the odds are against them.
I ask that we include Saiba and her family in our prayers, that Father would heal her both physically and emotionally, and continue to provide for her family in every way possible.
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