Every year in Pakistan 700 Christian girls are raped, abducted and forced to convert to Islam. These are the recorded numbers for cases which are reported in the media, but according to the different Christian organizations the number is much higher. The Pakistani Government continues to fail the Christian community.
Shabani Bibi is a girl who was abducted, raped and then forced to convert to Islam. Shabana lived with her family in Liaqatabad Lahore. Shabana was trained as a beautician and worked in a beauty parlor in the city of Lahore. Her father arranged for a rickshaw driver to pick her up so she would not face any problems while travelling. Muhammad Afzal, the rickshaw driver for over two years, became interested in Shabana and proposed marriage to her. She told him, “I am a Christian and I am not interested in marrying you or any Muslim.”
Shabana informed her mother that Muhammad Afzal was trying to propose marriage to her and she wanted to change the rickshaw driver. The next morning her father insulted Afzal and told him that from 1st Oct 2015 he was going to hire a new vehicle for his daughter so he was no longer needed for his services. Afzal apologized to Shabana’s father and told him that nothing of the sort would ever happen again. Her father agreed to give him another chance, but in his heart Afzal had a different intention. He behaved normally for the first week and even sought forgiveness from Shabana.
Upon nearing her place of work, Afzal offered a cold drink to Shabana. She initially refused, but he insisted on her drinking the liquid as otherwise, it would be considered that Shabana had not forgiven him. She took a few sips of the drink, and the next thing she remembers is that she woke up in a room with her hands and feet tied with a rope and her mouth covered with tape.
Around 2:30 AM Muhammad Afzal came into the room. He first tortured her and then raped her multiple times, continuing to sexually assault her throughout the day. The next morning, he came with Sharia marriage documents and forced her to sign and give her thumbprint.
When he came back in the evening, he told Shabana that she was now his wife. “I will see how you will not stay with me.” For five days he sexually assaulted and tortured her but forgot to lock the door, which gave Shabana a chance to escape. She found herself in a farming area in the outskirts of the Lahore. It took half an hour by foot to reach the main road, after which she took the rickshaw to her home and told the whole story to her family. The family was devastated to hear the story, but happy that at least she reached home.
After a day or two, Shabana’s abductor, Muhammad Afzal went to her home along with some Muslim clerics and tried to force her to go with him. She refused, and Afzal and his supporters tortured her whole family in front of their whole village.
Few of the village elders jumped in to help the family. When they contacted the local police, they were met with harassment. The police claimed that because their daughter “embraced Islam,” they would have to send her to her Muslim “husband.”
Shabana’s family sent their daughter to relatives in Rawalpindi but the abductor and Muslim cleric repeatedly threatened them in attepmts to get her back.
In December 2015, the family contacted our team and requested our support. We started by trying to settle the matter through the police and provided the evidence that the girl was abducted and forcefully raped. The police as usual continued to protect and support the real criminals.
Therefore Rescue Christians’ team filed a complaint in the family court in Lahore, but the court also made lame excuses for the criminals. The judge Munazza Rana (Family Judge of Lahore) seemed biased and told Shabana’s father and lawyer that as per Sharia law she had been converted to Islam and was now the lawful wife of Muhammad Afzal.
How difficult it is for Christian girls like Shabana to live in freedom! In only the last 60 days, 20 Christian girls in Pakistan have been abducted and forced to convert to Islam. The government has completely failed to provide security to the Pakistani Christian Community.
Please watch this heartbreaking testimony.