Despite brave efforts and 138Km of arduous travel for medical attention, Asma Yasoob succumbed to the injuries she incurred when a Muslim friend of the family doused her with acid and set her on fire. Asma passed away on Sunday 22 April at approximately 10:00 pm in the evening.
Pretending to be her brother, Rizwan Gujjar called Asma to the gate of her workplace, a bridal saloon where she worked as a beautician and was helping a bride and her family prepare for their special day. In the very moment she realized the man at the gate was not her brother, Rizwan Gujjar poured flammable acid on her and set her on fire before running away. You can read more about what happened (here).
A FIR was made to the authorities and the next day he was arrested by police. In such cases authorities and the perpetrator’s family members are known to pressure the victims family into the Islamic practice of accepting blood money that can be exacted under Shariah law rather than applying constitutional law evenly to all citizens. BPCA will be watching carefully to see that justice is served and that the authorities follow through with the prosecution of Rizwan Gaffar for his atrocious crime.
BPCA Officer Mehwish Bhatti was informed of her passing by a family member when calling to arrange a hospital visit to pray for Asma and try to bring some comfort.
Mehwish Bhatti said:
“It is so traumatizing to hear that she has passed as we all had hope she would win her fight for life. The family of the bride who she was preparing for her wedding acted quickly and not everyone would help someone being attacked as she was. I am sure they will never forget that horrible experience on a day that should be remembered with joy.
“Asma’s family were persistent in getting her the best treatment they could find, and travelled hundreds of miles to a hospital equipped with a burn unit. They did everything they could possibly do. This family will have a lot of trauma to work through and they are in shock. It is hard for anyone to see the life of a loved one so young and full of talent snuffed out.
“I feel a deep trauma that will continue to impact them and I am feeling heartbroken for them and for our beloved sister who has left us so young.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“It is a painful blow to have lost our beautiful sister. It seemed like she was recovering in hospital and three of the BPCA team members became very personally involved in praying for the family and counselling them. We are all reeling just as we were when brave Nouman Masih died in similar circumstances – he was targeted for being a Christian.
“The dangerous lives that Christians live in Pakistan is symptomatic of the poor governance the nation has had to bear since it’s inception. Even the onset of a consecutively democratically elected Government for the first time in it’s history has not been able to later the dastardly trajectory for the country of Pakistan.
“The desire for a theocracy in Pakistan is the root cause for persecution of its minorities, just as it is for most Islamic nations.”
If Asma had only told us about her harassment in the same way that Samina Masih did, we could have intervened to take her to a place of safety. As a group this makes us feel really despondent as despite 9 years of working in the field, not enough of the Christian community in Pakistan is aware of us. Today our trustees have decided to launch a new 24 hour call centre for Christian victims of harassment, discrimination and persecution.
Already we have set things in motion and we will keep you updated.
A funeral date has not been set at this time as the family are all very much in shock at Asma’s passing away. Her corpse must be transported from Lahore to Sialkot which takes around 3 hours and specialist transport has to be booked to prevent further rotting due to the length of the journey in the heat. Please pray for this deeply traumatized family. British Pakistani Christian Association had started a campaign to raise funds for her extended care and recovery but any received will now be employed to assist her family with funeral costs, failed medical treatment expenses and other costs. To contribute to this fund please donate here. Any surplus funds will go towards creating the 24 hour hotline service in Pakistan which we will promote amongst local churches.