An elderly woman of 58 years was pushed to the floor and beaten and kicked till he fell into unconsciousness, after she refused to kill a Muslim man's home, because her workload was already overscheduled.
On September 24, 2016, Bashiran was throwing out garbage after a cleaning job with a regular client when Muhammad Afzal, a prominent Muslim landlord in her village of Pattoki (near Lahore), asked her to visit his home so that she could estimate the costs of working at his home too.
When Bashiran arrived at Mr Afzal’s home she realized that the size of the home meant it was beyond her abilities to clean alone. She offered to come back another day with a team of a further two cleaners, however the landlord wanted his home cleaned immediately. When Bashiran refused, stating that she was too old to take on another job especially of this size on her own, Afzal became angry. He glared at Bashiran and accused her of disrespect as Christians should not be refusing to take orders from Muslims.
Bashiran was pushed to the floor, and Mr Afzal began kicking and punching her until she became unconscious. The brutality of the attack was so severe that Bashiran recalls hearing Afzal’s wife pleading for her husband to terminate the beating. Mr Afzal refused to stop and only stopped when Bashiran stopped moving. When Bashiran regained consciousness she sluggishly picked herself of the ground and somehow walked painfully back to her home, where she was received by her family.
Bashiran’s son, Paras Masih (28 years), rested his mother as he tended to her wounds, he then took her to Pattoki District police station to register a crime. but the police refused to register it. Police in Pakistan often refuse cases registered by Christians due to prejudice and receipt of bribes from wealthy perpetrators of crime.
The attack left Bashiran with a badly fractured shoulder and combined with her trauma this kept her away from work for two months.
On October 20, 2016, after obtaining the required medical reports, a petition was fled with the Pattoki District court, seeking an order to the police to file criminal charges against Muhammad Afzal. The court issued a notice to Pattoki police to submit comments.
After police failed to submit any comments at the next hearing the court delivered a judgement based on Bashiran Bibi’s medical report. During the hearing however, Muhammad Afzal’s brother, Muhammad Ali, told the court that Afzal was mentally ill and asked for leniency from the court.
The court allowed some time to the defendant to reach a settlement (allowed under Pakistani Hudood law) with Bashiran Bibi. The defendant tried to offer a very paltry figure of compensation and Bashiran refused the money stating she wanted to press charges, so that other Christians would not suffer as sh had.
On December 9, 2016, the court ordered the investigation officer of Pattoki Police to file charges against the Mr Afzal. We will update you on progress.
British Pakistani Christian Association is housing Bashiran and her daughter at one of our safe houses, although another charity has been providing her legal cover we have ensured she has been availabel to attend court hearings and solicitor meetings.
Mehwish Bhatti, Lead Pakistan officer for the BPCA, said:
"The family had been threatened with death if they continued to pursue for justice in the courts and we removed them from a potentially violent situation. Bashiran has now found new work through help from our safe house team but is still traumatized by the incident she recalls every minute of the attack and believes the attack would have been more severe had she not passed out. Her family are hopeful that they will see justice."
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:
"Crimes like this in Pakistan are common against Christians. The low social status of Christians is made worse by the suspicions that Muslims have towards a faith they view as their biggest competitor. The judgment calling for an investigation into the attack can still be overturned and in a Country where the rule of law is weak, there is a distinct possibility this could happen. Even then Bashiran is insistent upon pursuing justice and we will offer all the assistance we can to help."
Posted by Women Against Shariah on Tuesday, December 13, 2016