Our vision is to create a network of Pakistanis united in Christ, focused on better quality of life, fellowship and religious freedom for Christians in Pakistan and the UK.
Mehwish Bhatti shares a simple message of God's love and the hope of new life with the two Christian girls gang-raped in Faisalabad.
For more details on the two sisters please click here
By Mehwish Bhatti, Islamabad:
After so many obstacles with a woman's passion in my heart, I travelled the long distance from Islamabad to Faisalabad. I did not let the failures or the let downs from my previous trip (click here) deter me. Yes I was frightened, but I knew by the grace of God I would make it.
I left at 7am in the morning in Islamabad and arrived at Faisalabad at 1.20pm. Once I arrived at Faisalabad station I knew i would be travelling a further 100 km from the main city to a village called Jaranwala, where the two sisters Sherish and Farzana victims of a cruel and brutal gang rape at gunpoint, resided.
The pre-arranged trip came about after a lot of research and the discovery of a a local Catholic Church. The local Priest agreed to introduce me to the sisters after a telephone appeal in which I explained I wanted to counsel the two girls and to help them into safety. The priest kindly accompanied me to the distraught family's home. At 3pm I reached their home, the Family was already aware of my visit and greeted my mother and I with great welcome. Their Father received us and took us into their home. It was a weathered mud house with damaged roof and in extremely poor condition. At one end they converted a space for use as a washroom as the two girls now fear the short journey to the forest where there innocence was stolen from them. The stench from this inappropriate use of an internal room was overpowering, but the poverty in which this family finds themselves has provided them with few if any alternatives.
In a corner of the room one of the girls Sherish lit a small woodpile to brew some tea.The two girls though deep in skin tone seemed morbidly pale and their countenance was disturbing in the torturous pain it revealed. I hugged them and declared peace in the name of Jesus our Lord and Saviour. They reacted warmly and I could see that of the many visitors that had come to meet them from humanitarian groups, I was the first female, yet it was clear to me that it was a sisters counsel that was required by them.
I needed some time to talk in isolation with them so I appealed to the father and the priest for them to leave the room for a short while. The girls slowly relaxed in the company of a fellow woman and slowly started to reveal the sordid and pernicious act that had devastated their once content and peaceful life. Recounting the incident was painful and the three of us wept as I listened to their description of their kidnap at gunpoint and the brutal treatment they received at the hands of three of the local boys from their community. The eldest sister tried to give her younger sister confidence knowing full well, they were being led into a den of depravity. The young men full of lust refused to listen to their remonstrations or their pleading and harshly beat the girls into submission. The two girls thought they were going to die that night or be imprisoned forever, as they did not think anyone had seen them being abducted. After some initial screaming they remained silent throughout the whole ordeal, waiting for it to end. When they young men had tired from their fill of pleasure they shouted at the girls to quickly get dressed and kicked them out of their home. Such was their malice that they treated these girls with contempt and disdain. With what little pride and confidence they could gather within themselves, they ran to their home and reported the incident to their father. He immediately took them to the local police and demanded justice. Initially the local police refused to register the crime, but after local church leaders and humanitarian groups got involved a few days later, the three boys were arrested and they are currently incarcerated.
Sherish the eldest sister said;
"We are facing daily abuse by other Muslim boys threatening to rape us. They laugh at us and tell us Christian girls are worth nothing, that we are simply toys to be played with and thrown away. Other members of the community tell us that if we pursue the legal case against the three culprits, that we will be attacked and so will our families."
Farzana the younger sister shared her surprise that they had been attacked, she said;
"The boys used to chase around after us before the incident but I never knew they could be so brutal to us. We have grown up in the same community but they treated us like rags not human beings."
I was deeply saddened whilst hearing about their plight my heart reached out for this forgotten pair of sisters, who humanitarian groups have left behind, as the media refused to cover their story. I distributed gifts of clothes, some traditional Shalwar kameez, which lightened the mood somewhat, but nothing can ever remove the pain and suffering of these two girls.
We went for a walk to the fields they formerly used as washrooms, despite the horrors they must have felt they led to the very spot where they were abducted. The reality of the situation overwhelmed me and I started to weep. The father remained silent and was obviously deeply depressed by the attack on his girls, he walked along with us.
I shared the word of God and prayed with great vigour along with the family. It was a surreal moment of spirituality that helped lift us all from the darkest depths of despair. We then shared some communal tea which the girls kindly served. Before leaving Sherish looked somberly upwards into my eyes and asked;
"Badgi (big sister) will you take us with you and away from this horrible place."
I replied softly;
"Dear sisters I will try my hardest, please do not think you have been forgotten. I will do all I can."
I left the location and arrived at Faisalabad Station for 6.40pm, just in time for my bus home. We arrived home at around 11:35pm.
I have spoken to Wilson Chowdhry since the visit and we have agreed to take the two girls into a safe house, with parental consent. They need safety and protection so that they can rebuild their lives. Moreover, they need to be educated so that they can stand on their own two feet and no longer be ridiculed by course, depraved men, in communities with huge amounts of intolerance and little else.
Chairman of the BPCA Wilson Chowdhry has agreed to provide funds through donors to help support the girls. However my mother has agreed to support them irrespective of donations. These girls deserve much better than this awful treatment and they will be placed in an environment of spiritual learning where their faith will grow through a better understanding of God's love for mankind and his promise of eternal life. A life in heaven free of the brutality of this earth.
Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association said;
"Despite assurances these girls were being protected by other humanitarian groups, we find the two girls are still living in an extremely vulnerable and dangerous situation. Following Mehwish's recommendation the BPCA have agreed to arrange safe housing for the two girls, to bring them up both physically and spiritually in a safe unthreatened environment. We are not a regularly funded group and pray that people of good conscience will provide the finance required to bring solace to these innocent victims of horrendous violence and debauchery. Only the coldest of individuals will not have been moved by this awful story."
BPCA Chairman meets with the First Minister (deputy to UK High Commissioner for Pakistan) Anjum Sohail on Thursday 8th January to discuss a partnership project, that could introduce communal toilets for the villagers of this community. If this project does not materialise we have already gained permission to build a community toilet on the site of a church in construction. Keys to this toilet facility will be given to all the Christian families in the vicinity to improve local hygiene and safety. We will keep our readers informed of progress.
We are still short of the funds required for both these projects and call upon people of good conscience to donate to our appeals.
If you would like to donate to our relief work our bank details are as follows:
Sort Code: 20-67-90
Account number: 63468976
Ref: Love for Sherish and Farzana
Alternatively if you would like to send a one of donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, or simply send a cheque made payable to the BPCA to our address; 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
The inappropriate unplumbed area being used as a makeshift toilet to protect Sherish and Farzana.
A house without heating and few beds.
The Father Ilyas Masih, Sherish and Farzana and BPCA Offficer Mehwish Bhatti praying for the healing and protection.
The younger brother of the girls has a broken hand that has swelled due to the use of home remedies, as the family cannot afford medical bills at a hospital.
Farzana brews some tea by burning a woodpile in their mud home.
Gifts of some clothes brings smiles to the faces of the beautiful sisters.
The good spirit of these well disciplined and respectful girls has not altered despite the horrid abuse they suffered.
Mehwish travelled to the abduction site with the brave girls.
Ilyas Masih the father of the girls with two witnesses who saw the girls return.