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         Desperate to save the lives of his daughters Father Ilyas Masih sorrowfully delivers his daughters
                            to the care of the British Pakistani Christian Association.

"I want the boys to be punished, for what they have done to my innocent girls, it will be a lesson to them and other local Muslim boys that Christian girls are not their playthings."

By Mehwish Bhatti:

For the online version with images please click here

We left home early in the morning (Sunday 22nd February 2015) my frail elderly mother and I, determined to complete our task of bringing Sherish and Farzana to safety. The two now famous girls have been strong-willed and determined to rebuild their lives, despite being subjects of the cruel perversions of three local Muslim boys, who beat, cut and tortured them while gang-raping them for over twelve hours, mocking the girls vindictively as they challenged their God to save them.  

The brave father of the girls Ilyas Masih met us along with his friend Khalid, who was one of the men that found the girls dumped unconscious in the same field they were abducted from.  During the journey Khaild relived the moment he found the girls, he said

"Their bodies were naked, bruised and bleeding at first I thought they were dead, but after recognising signs of life I called the father and we replaced their lost clothes with some of our own, while others rushed to collect blankets."

 It was a somber morbid journey that was to culminate in the departure of the girls from their father and brothers, so excitement was tempered with significant melancholy. 

We travelled on a local people carrier and later by rickshaw to reach our destination Chako 651/2  were the girls resided.  The long travel on the coach from Islamabad and this final stretch to their home drew out great introspection, I realised how fortunate I am to live in a city, where it is not a perfect life for Christians, but where discrimination is less volatile then the oppression, vilification and persecution of Christians living in more rural communities.  My mother has been able to afford an education for me and I now am completing my degree in literature, but for families like Sherish and Farzana's, the priority is food on the table.  I am in no way over privileged but compared to the fate these girls would have faced, my life has been a piece of cake.  I cried several times on the journey as did my mother and the father of the girls Ilyas Masih.

It did not yet feel like a time of joy...

We arrived at our destination and I breathed a sigh of relief, as it had been a very long journey.  The family had moved back into their home after it was found no relative and the local church could not support them financially.  I inspected the washroom building and water pump that we provided which are both functioning well. The family explained to us that they are pleased to have a toilet and washroom at their home, which prevents potentially dangerous excursions to the forest and local stream.  Moreover, they have started a much more healthy and hygienic lifestyle which has invigorated them.

The girls were excited to see me as they had prepared for this relocation for a long time, they had explained to their father that they loved him, but desired an escape away from the hatred directed towards them.  They felt ashamed about what had happened to them despite no culpability, and simply could not cope with any more attacks and taunts.

Despite initial reservations mainly focused on the lack of knowledge of our group, the father agreed it was the best chance for rehabilitation for his daughters. He explained to my mother and I that he had prayed about deciding to allow his girls to live with us incessantly - since we first broached the subject a month ago.  Ilyas Masih, spoke to us with a heavy heart, but with great expectation. He said;

"I have asked God for direction, and every time I prayed I noticed it was your group that was calling me and responding to the matters I was praying about, without me telling you.  To me it seemed like an answer to my prayers.  Although deeply frustrated and angered at my situation, I believe God has a much bigger plan for my beautiful daughters."

The friends and a few christian neighbours  came to meet the girls and I, to say their farewells.  It was a touching moment full of many tears and great sorrow, the women in the community wailed loud and long. The grieving of the loss of these girls from their community extended beyond an hour. It was heart wrenching when I finally demanded that we leave, but assertiveness was needed as night time travel is extremely dangerous in Pakistan.

The girls held their brothers for five minutes in an embrace that shattered what little decorum I had left and I joined all the other watchers in wailing over a family that were separated by distance, but whose bonds of love would never fade.

We started out on our journey back at around 7pm, taking the father Ilyas Masih with us - he justifiably wanted assurance that his girls were safe.  Enroute Mr Masih shared some disturbing and disappointing news.  Mr Masih alleged that Pastor Pervaiz  who was providing them with help and support succumbed to pressure from family members of one of  the boys accused of rape (named Asif), and accepted a financial bung.  The payment meant that Pastor Pervaiz had to approve bail for the boy, which he has done and now Asif has been granted bail, to the acrimony of the beleaguered family who feel grossly betrayed.

Using a financial bung Asif one of the boys accused of raping the sisters is out on bail!


In a frank discussion with me Ilyas Masih, described how Pastor Pervaiz tried to explain to the family that he felt the boy was innocent. He justified this by saying that the boys family had explained that he had not been involved in the rape of the two girls but had simply watched the ordeal while his friends enacted the torturous attack.  The girls vehemently deny Asif is innocent and continue to allege that Asif was involved in the attack.

Ilyas Masih expressed his great fear for his family, as supporters of the rapists are blackmailing them, threatening violence unless charges against the rapists are dropped.  However Ilyas is adamant that he will see justice through for his dishonoured girls.  he said;

" I want the boys to be punished, for what they have done to my innocent girls, it will be a lesson to them and other local Muslim boys that Christian girls are not their playthings.  This case will bring the honour back to my family and will safeguard the daughters of all Christians in our area, such treatment of our girls is intolerable."  

It has also been alleged that Pastor Pervaiz also informed Ilyas Masih that the lawyer (who had been assigned by the Pastor) on the case, did not prepare the case very well.  He placed some blame for the failed bail on the poor administration.  The Lawyer named Rana is reportedly being blackmailed and is said to be closely connected to several landlords in the area opposed to the sentencing of the rapists.

For the full report please click here

The BPCA have agreed to raise funds for the upkeep of the two girls and have committed themselves to at least one year.  The ongoing costs to feed, clothe, shelter, teach and spiritually uplift these girls is only £100 per month. 

Our membership has reached 32,000 and so we pray that our members will dedicate just £1  as we have a real chance of not only changing the  quality of life for these two young women. But to dramatically, set a legal precedent that will make oppressors think twice before attacking innocent Christian girls who they consider easy prey.  If you would like to be part of the process for change in Pakistan, or simply want to help these Christian girls flourish, then please contribute towards our appeal.

If you would like to donate towards the growth of Sherish and Farzana and the protection of their family, then please use these bank details:

Sort Code: 20-67-90
Account number: 63468976
Bank: Barclays
Ref:  Love for Sherish and Farzana
Alternatively if you would like to send a one off donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, or simply send a cheque made payable for the  BPCAto our address;  57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.

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